An alt-right rally in Portland billed as a march for “law and order” descended into anything but on Saturday night, as “Patriot Prayer” protesters and counter-protesters brawled and even attacked one another with bear spray, The Oregonian is reporting. Several counter-protesters also burned the American flag.
Joey Gibson is a leader of the Portland branch of the “Patriot Prayer” movement. Last week, he says, a Portland march against police brutality descend into chaos, as Portland cops took a “hands-off” approach to the demonstration. At one point during the demonstration, as reported by the Inquisitr, protesters clashed with an elderly driver, and video emerged showing protesters shouting obscenities at a wheelchair-bound woman. The woman had asked the protesters to stop using their megaphone because it was hurting her ears.
Disgusted by the protesters’ treatment of passerby and the Portland police’s apparent lack of interest in doing much about it, Gibson says he put together a march for law and order. Gibson and about three dozen supporters showed up at a vigil for Patrick Kimmons, a 27-year-old black man who was shot and killed by law enforcement, and whose death sparked last week’s march. There, they were met by a “large group” of vigil attendees, some of whom were affiliated with the violent leftist group Antifa, chanting “Black Lives Matter” and related slogans. The Patriot Prayer group sang songs and chanted pro-American chants.
It didn’t go well.
Soon, the sides were shouting obscenities at each other, and the Portland Police Department, in keeping with its “hands-off” policy with regard to protests, did nothing to intervene.
At one point, according to Fox News, counter-protesters burned the American flag,
Only when punches started being thrown did the Portland Police Department intervene. With fists being swung wildly, batons being used to attack one another, trash being thrown across both sides, and attacks involving bear spray — a capsaicin-based aerosol spray — the police, clad in riot gear, eventually moved in to break up the melee.
Portland’s clash was the latest in a series of political rallies, often started by or attended by either the alt-right, Antifa, or both, which have devolved into violence and even death. According to USA Today, by some measures, the uptick in political violence can be tied to Donald Trump who, according to The Southern Poverty Law Center, has emboldened hate groups to spread their message.
Last summer, members of the alt-right clashed with counter-protesters in Charlottesville, West Virginia at a rally to protest the removal of a statue of a Confederate general. A woman, Heather Heyer, was killed when a protester allegedly drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters.