Police Deploy Their Own Brand of Justice After Patriot Prayer Group and Antifa Protesters Turn Bloody
Police in Portland, Oregon, resorted to force on Saturday to keep members of Patriot Prayer and assorted antifa protesters apart in the latest clash between the two groups in the city.
“A giant crowd of people from several opposing political groups, including right-wing Patriot Prayer and antifa, faced off once again in a protest that started at Tom McCall Waterfront Park,” KOIN-TV reported.
“The two groups came face to face on either side of Southwest Naito Parkway, where hundreds of police officers from Portland and Oregon State Police tried to keep them separated.
“When protesters refused police orders to get out of the street, officers used non-lethal crowd control devices including rubber bullets, pepper spray and flash bangs to disperse people.”
@PortlandPolice just used flash bangs to clear the street #pdxprotest pic.twitter.com/C6Hm6GJFC1
— Dan Tilkin (@DanTilkinKOIN6) August 4, 2018
Law enforcement said that the dust-up on Saturday represented a “civil disturbance,” a step down from a June 30 clash between the same two groups, which police branded a “riot.” In that instance, both groups broke out in fighting. This time, authorities were able to keep them apart.
Tensions have been simmering between the two groups since 2017, particularly after Patriot Prayer refused to cancel a rally in the city after a race-related murder on public transportation just prior to it.
Antifa groups have also accused far-right groups of orbiting around the periphery of Patriot Prayer and their rallies, something they said the conservative activist organization hasn’t done enough to address.
Due to this, an early-June Patriot Prayer rally — which was supposed to be a send-off for a member who was moving away — instead turned into a free-for-all when antifa groups held a counter-protest they dubbed “Call to Resist Patriot Prayer Bringing Nazis to Portland.”
At Saturday’s event, several individuals were arrested (as of Sunday morning, it was unclear to which faction they belonged) and weapons were confiscated from protesters. Despite a promise from Patriot Prayer to come to the event carrying guns, no firearms were reported as having been seized.
“The Portland Police Bureau is, and will always be, committed to providing a safe environment for all individuals to exercise their First Amendments rights in a peaceful manner,” a news release from Police Chief Danielle Outlaw read.
“Unfortunately, today, some people chose to commit illegal acts of violence, which required members of the Police Bureau to take action in order to keep all participants and non-participants safe. This was a dangerous situation for all those involved, including officers, and I am disheartened that this kind of illegal behavior occurred in our beautiful city.”
A longer video of Saturday’s events can be viewed below. (Warning: Some images of bloody wounds could be graphic for some.)
Antifa protesters chanted “Whose streets? Our streets!” and “Proud Boys off our streets! Fascists retreat! No Trump, No KKK, No Fascist USA! Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Nazi boys have got to go!”
Meanwhile, Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson rallied his supporters to defend themselves if “this mayor (Ted Wheeler) refuses to defend your constitutional rights.”
On their Facebook page, Rose City Antifa — the largest of the leftist groups — reported seeing Nazi-related T-shirts at the rally, claimed that “(p)olice are only attacking Black Bloc and antiracist protesters, PP are allowed to keep doing whatever” and ended up doxxing a Clark County committeeman who spoke at the event.
Patriot Prayer, meanwhile, used Facebook to post pictures of the event and to claim that Gibson was assaulted.
This is not the first time that these two groups have physically clashed, and it certainly won’t be the last. Law enforcement seems to be signaling that in the future, if these groups unable to be reasonable and let each other exercise their First Amendment rights peacefully — particularly with the specter of antifa intimidation — there’s going to be a much more significant presence at these events.
Antifa thugs should consider themselves warned.
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