Protests in Portland, Oregon turned violent Saturday, as hundreds of white nationalist demonstrators clashed with antifascist activists.
The Associated Press reported that police deployed “flash bang” devices to try to disperse the demonstration. The AP said there were an undetermined number of arrests after rocks, bottles and other projectiles were hurled at police. Police ordered demonstrators to disperse as they struggled to keep opposing camps of protesters apart.
Police have declared a “civil disturbance” and are ordering both sides to disperse or face arrest or riot control agents and impact weapons.”
— Christopher Mathias (@letsgomathias) August 4, 2018
Saturday’s violence is just the latest of several confrontations over the past year between far-right factions and and left wing activists across the United States.
The best known such conflict took place nearly one year ago, when white nationalists gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia and were met by throngs of anti-facists. That so-called Unite the Right protest, which marks its one-year anniversary next weekend, claimed the life of a young woman, anti-fascist activist Heather Heyer.
For the safety of the community and participants and based on behavior observed, weapons confiscated, and known threats during today’s events; PPB continues to attempt to keep demonstrators and counterdemonstrators separated.
— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) August 4, 2018
Proud Boys in a truck just sprayed bear mace at antifa blocking their way, leaving a street full of coughing, tearing people behind pic.twitter.com/nt6uEYREAK
— Brendan O’Connor (@_grendan) August 4, 2018
The rally in Oregon is the latest in a series of demonstrations organized by the group Patriot Prayer, led by longshot Senate candidate Joey Gibson. Other rallies staged by the group have essentially served as fronts for far-right groups to face off with and goad counter-protesters, often with violent results. Their numbers were bolstered by the Proud Boys, another far-right group. This is why you should be worried about Saturday’s far-right rally in Portland
On June 30, a Patriot Prayer rally devolved into a riot when Gibson’s supporters brawled with anti-fascist counter-protesters. Police eventually arrested nine people.