PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Members of the Proud Boys and other right-wing demonstrators march across the Hawthorne Bridge during an “End Domestic Terrorism” rally in Portland, Ore., on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. The group includes organizer Joe Biggs, in green hat, and Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio, holding megaphone. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
A posted sign reads “Be Safe. August 17th” is posted in Portland, Ore., Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. Right-wing groups and counterprotesters gathered in downtown Portland, Oregon, on Saturday and authorities set up concrete barriers and closed streets in an effort to contain the groups. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)
Stores close down for the day as a safety precaution as right-wing groups and counterprotesters gathered in downtown Portland, Ore., on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. Flag-waving members of the Proud Boys and Three Percenters militia group began gathering late in the morning, some wearing body armor and helmets. Meanwhile black clad, helmet and mask-wearing anti-fascist protesters — known as antifa — were also among the several hundred people on the streets. (AP Photo/Moriah Ratner)
Portland Police prepare to head towards Tom McCall Waterfront Park as right-wing groups and counterprotesters gathered in downtown Portland, Ore., on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. Flag-waving members of the Proud Boys and Three Percenters militia group began gathering late in the morning, some wearing body armor and helmets. Meanwhile black clad, helmet and mask-wearing anti-fascist protesters — known as antifa — were also among the several hundred people on the streets. (AP Photo/Moriah Ratner)
Left-aligning protesters gather near Battleship Oregon Memorial Marine Park on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in downtown Portland, Ore. Hundreds of far-right protesters and anti-fascist counter-demonstrators swarmed the downtown area, as police set up concrete barriers and closed streets and bridges in an effort to contain and separate the rival groups. (AP Photo/Moriah Ratner)
Members of the Proud Boys and other right-wing demonstrators march along the Willamette River during an “End Domestic Terrorism” rally in Portland, Ore., on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. Police have mobilized to prevent clashes between conservative groups and counter-protesters who converged on the city. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Police seized metal poles, bear spray and other weapons Saturday as hundreds of far-right protesters and anti-fascist counter-demonstrators swarmed downtown Portland, Oregon, in a situation the mayor termed “potentially dangerous and volatile.”

Authorities also set up concrete barriers and closed streets and bridges in an effort to contain and separate the rival groups.

Flag-waving members of the Proud Boys and Three Percenters militia group began gathering late in the morning, some wearing body armour and helmets. Meanwhile black clad, helmet and mask-wearing anti-fascist protesters — known as antifa — were also among the several hundred people on the streets.

Police said they had seized the weapons, including shields, from multiple groups that were gathering on both sides of the Willamette River, which runs through the city.

More than two dozen local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, were in the city for the right-wing rally that was expected to draw people from across the country.

Police said over a loudspeaker that people on the streets for the unpermitted rallies could be arrested. At least one person was arrested.

The gathering was hyped on social media and elsewhere for weeks. In the days leading up the event Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said people who espoused hate or engaged in violence were “not welcome.”

In a Saturday morning tweet, President Donald Trump wrote “Portland is being watched very closely” and that “Hopefully the Mayor will be able to properly do his job.”

He also wrote that “major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an ‘ORGANIZATION of TERROR.’”

ALSO READ: Patriot Prayer’s Joey Gibson arrested ahead of planned rally

But it wasn’t immediately clear what he meant by that as there’s no mechanism for the United States government to declare a domestic organization a terror group. The State Department maintains a list of designated foreign terrorist organizations, such as al Qaida, but there’s no comparable designation or list for American groups.

Wheeler responded to the president’s tweet in an interview with CNN, saying, “frankly, it’s not helpful.” Wheeler added: “This is a potentially dangerous and volatile situation, and adding to that noise doesn’t do anything to support or help the efforts that are going on here in Portland.”

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa. Also on hand were people dressed in colorful outfits and those who attended a nearby prayer service, holding signs that said things such as “No Trump, No NRA.”

Self-described anti-fascists had vowed to confront the rally while leaders from the far right urged their followers to turn out in large numbers to protest the arrests of six members of right-wing groups in the run-up to the event.

Patriot Prayer’s Joey Gibson, who organized similar rallies in 2017 and 2018 that erupted in clashes, surrendered Friday on an arrest warrant for felony rioting. He was at a confrontation that broke out on May 1 outside a bar where antifa members had gathered after a May Day demonstration.

In a video he livestreamed on Facebook, Gibson accused the police of playing politics by arresting him but not the masked demonstrators who beat up conservative blogger Andy Ngo at a June 29 rally that drew national attention.

A video of that attack went viral and led the Proud Boys, who have been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, to organize Saturday’s event.

“They want you to not show up in Portland, they want to put fear in your hearts,” Gibson said.

Portland Police Bureau spokeswoman Tina Jones declined to comment about specific arrests but said generally police continue to investigate several incidents from clashes on May 1 and June 29 and are politically neutral.

Antifa members often cover their faces with masks, making it harder to identify them.

In addition to the Proud Boys and Three Percenters, the white nationalist American Guard also said it would have members in Portland.

The Oath Keepers, another far-right militia group, said in a statement they were pulling out of the rally because organizers have not done enough to keep white supremacist groups away.

“It would be best for the patriot/conservative cause if this August 17 rally were simply cancelled,” the group’s founder, Stewart Rhodes, wrote.

Authorities asked residents not to call 911 unless it’s a life-threatening emergency and to stay away from the heart of downtown.

Gillian Flaccus, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

VIDEO: Car goes off Highway 1 and into a ditch in Chilliwack

Eastbound vehicle left the highway ending in the ditch on south side of Luckakuck Way

Emergency crews respond to ATV rollover near Harrison

ATV rolled over on or near Harrison East Forest Service Road near Harrison Hot Springs

Guilty verdict for one of two men in large illegal marijuana grow-operation in Chilliwack

Charges dismissed against property owner where 3,200 plants, 32 kgs of dried weed found in 2017

Search continues for person seen floating in Coquihalla River in Hope

Rescuers halted the search Thursday night as darkness fell

Missing Chilliwack woman has not been in contact with family for several months

The RCMP are asking for the public’s help in locating 35-year-old Chantelle Chenier of Chilliwack

QUIZ: A celebration of dogs

These are the dog days of summer. How much do you know about dogs?

Family and friends mark birthday of teen who died after being discovered in Langley park

Carson Crimeni suffered an apparent drug overdose, his final moments broadcast on social media

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Semi and BMW collide on South Surrey highway

At least one person to hospital, both vehicles sustained significant damage

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

Langley vigil demands justice for Ontario animal activist killed protesting slaughterhouse

More than two dozen people gathered at Britco Pork to remember Regan Russell, and fight Bill 156

Most Read