According to CNN, Portland Police warned protestors not to bring any weapons to an alt-right rally on Saturday, informing participants that they will use bomb-sniffing dogs stationed at various checkpoints in downtown Portland.
“There will be a significant law enforcement presence in the area of the demonstration due to past threats and acts of violence. Persons attending any of the events should not bring any weapons or items that can be used as weapons to any of the events,” the Portland Police Bureau said in a statement.
Police were notified to take extra precautions after learning that the group, Patriot Player USA, would be hosting a controversial rally on Saturday. Protestors and counterprotestors alike gathered on either sides of a street in downtown Portland, holding an assortment of signs and banners and shouting various mantras and insults at each other.
On one side of the street, protestors repeatedly chanted “U-S-A” and collectively said the Pledge of Allegiance, while on the other side, demonstrators continually shouted the phrase, “fascists retreat.”
On Friday afternoon, the Portland Police issued a reminder to the public ahead of Saturday’s rally via Twitter.
“Oregon has no concealed handgun license reciprocity with any state, and it is a crime to carry a concealed handgun unless you have and present for inspection a valid OREGON concealed weapons license.”
However, the Portland Police notified the public on the afternoon of the rally that they had already confiscated various weapons from demonstrators and were therefore wearing protective vests and helmets in the event of a riot.
Officers have seized multiple items that can be used as weapons and are observing people in helmets and protective padding. pic.twitter.com/KNW0yoyhHb
— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) August 4, 2018
The organizer of the rally, Joey Gibson, who belongs to Patriot Player USA, claims that he is a libertarian, and not a member of the alt-right.
Patriot Player USA previously held a “Freedom March” rally in June of this year, where several people ended up arrested. During the June rally, fights broke out, and opposing sides threw fireworks, bottles, and even rocks at each other. A simple rally was held in Portland back in June, 2017.
Titled the “Trump Free Speech” rally, hundreds of Trump supporters were met by a group of counterprotestors, who reportedly viewed the rally as “an implicit endorsement of racism.” At least 12 demonstrators were arrested for fighting and rioting at the time. Only a month before last year’s June march, a racially charged stabbing occurred, but Gibson insisted that his rally had been planned way in advance of the incident.