Police: Antifa, Proud Boys to rally Saturday in Portland
Dueling protests between left- and right-wing factions are planned for this Saturday, Sept. 26, in Portland, police say.
A group of Western chauvinists known as the Proud Boys have announced an event at Delta Park beginning at noon Saturday. Local anti-fascist collectives announced plans for a separate event from noon to 3 p.m. at Peninsula Park, which is about three miles away.
"Due to the heightened rhetoric and many recent events where crimes occurred, we are developing a thorough plan to do everything possible to keep everyone safe," said Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell. "It is crucial for anyone who plans to attend to refrain from engaging in criminal activity, report dangerous or criminal conduct to the police and adhere to lawful orders given by public safety officials."
Police didn't specifically mention either group by name, saying only that they were planning for events involving "different ideologies," but Proud Boy leader Enrique Tarrio told The Oregonian of his plans for a Delta Park gathering.
The Oregonian reported the statement saying the rally is being held in Delta Park "to showcase our love for America and Western Values ... [and will involve] a 'battalion of patriots' who are ready to exercise their constitutionally protected right to assemble."
The Portland chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, Pop Mob and Rose City Antifa have announced plans for the counter rally on social media.
Announcing a change in our call-to-action for Sep. 26th! A huge anti-fascist community event will take place on Saturday, Sep. 26th at Peninsula Park from 12 PM-3 PM, organized by @PopMobPDX, @PortlandDSA, and us, featuring lots of radical local organizations and collectives. pic.twitter.com/pzxEuvMw21— Always Antifascist (@RoseCityAntifa) September 21, 2020
Organized street brawls have become a disreputable downtown tradition in Portland since summer 2017, when Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson first led his followers into the area.
The Proud Boys previously gathered in Portland last August, and many people wearing their yellow-and-black polo shirt uniform were spotted during a street clash on Aug. 22 of this year.
A Trump car parade on Aug. 29 spurred further confrontations as the caravan wound its way through downtown Portland. Local man Aaron Danielson was shot dead later that night, and prosecutors say he was likely targeted because he was wearing a hat with the Patriot Prayer logo.
It's unclear whether the two groups will clash on Saturday or stay apart, but authorities are planning for all possibilities and note that previous conflicts have involved assaults, vandalism, weapon violations and numerous arrests.
"We are working closely with the Mayor's Office and other local and regional partners and we will deploy our collective resources based on the latest information we have," said Chief Lovell. "It is up to all of us to make sure we do not have an event where further loss of life results. Lawful engagement in First Amendment rights is acceptable; attendance with the intent to harm or intimidate others is not appropriate or safe for anyone."
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