'Portland's Liberation' rally leaves grievances at mayor's doorstep
Fewer than 20 people showed up Saturday morning outside of Mayor Ted Wheeler's Southwest Portland home to protest his handling of recent downtown protests that ended in clashes between right-wing Patriot Prayer and left-wing Antifa groups.
The sparse July 20 rally was organized by Portland's Liberation, which co-founder Alyssa Bang said "grew out of Patriot Prayer." The group was there to list grievances against Wheeler, who they said had blocked Portland police from corralling sometimes violent people during the downtown protests.
For nearly an hour, members of the group took turns expressing through a megaphone a litany of complaints about Wheeler. They faulted the mayor and the city of Portland for a perceived bias toward Antifa, a desire to disarm law enforcement and a lack of action regarding Portland's homelessness problem.
"I would respect our mayor a lot more if he would be a mayor and speak to the people," said Haley Adams, one of the event's organizers. Several of the speakers expressed similar resentment about their lack of face time with Wheeler.
There was little indication that the Wheeler family was home to hear any of it. "You know, I get the weird feeling that he's not," said Bang.
Wheeler and police have faced national and local criticism for the handling of dueling rallies June 29 in which some with the Patriot Prayer group clashed violently with Antifa members. A national conservative blogger was punched and sloshed with a milkshake during the confrontations. That incident got the attention of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who called for a federal investigation into Wheeler's handling of the protests.
Cruz and other Republican leaders have suggested labeling Antifa as a domestic terrorist group.
Saturday's rally didn't have any of that drama. There was no counter-protest.
Bang said the turnout was good, and that the group would use video of the rally to disseminate its message.
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