On Sunday, protests in downtown Portland turned bloody and violent when protesters and counter-protesters clashed on the streets.
The first protest of the day was planned for 2:00 pm, which was organized by Direct Action Alliance and Empower Portland. The protest was against police brutality. The second event was planned for 5:00 pm, which was organized by a right-wing Patriot Prayer group. The purpose of the event was called “Tiny’s Freedom March,” and was supposed to be a farewell event for Tusitala John Toese, a close friend of the group’s leader, reported Fox News. In addition, Antifa protesters showed up to conduct a counter-protest, and mayhem and violence ensued. Antifa supposedly was joining Direct Action Alliance and Empower Portland in protest of the Patriot Prayer group.
Antifa reportedly “stormed” the Patriot Prayer rally, and some protesters turned violent towards police, throwing bottles and fireworks at officers. Most of the Antifa protesters covered their face and wore black, as is customary for the group. They chanted things like “Nazis go home,” while others held signs that said “F— the police.” In addition, protesters were also hurling fireworks, bottles, rocks, and even ball bearings at one another.
Portland Police said that people had the “right to assemble,” but warned that anyone with weapons or anyone acting violently would be arrested. Police used pepper spray twice on some of the protesters, and four people were arrested as a result of the day’s happenings.
Some social media posts show a man’s bloody face, as videos show people fighting each other with their bare hands. Officials said that nobody had such serious injuries that they had to be taken to the hospital, although “several people” received evaluations on-site.
The man in question that was being honored during the Patriot Prayer protest, Toese, is known to have engaged in fights with anti-fascists in the past, reported Oregon Live.
As the violence ensued, police told people to leave the area, detailed The Hill.
“Officers have observed multiple fights at today’s events. People are encouraged to leave the area for their safety due to the violent behavior of demonstrators at Terry Schrunk Plaza and Chapman and Lownsdale Squares.”
Yahoo News also detailed that there were small fires on the Antifa side.
In anticipation of the protests earlier last week, Portland Police said “The bureau is going to be spread thin… It’s a real strain on the limited resources we do have.”
Meanwhile, Portland families enjoyed the annual Rose Festival on the waterfront of downtown while the protests erupted some blocks away.