Sunday, 17 February, 2019

Pro-Trump rally, counter protests draw thousands in downtown Portland

Theresa Hayes | 05 June, 2017, 07:30

But those events have ended, and police say crowds have largely dispersed.

Protesters from both sides continually shouted chants and epithets at each other, as tempers flared and occasional shoving matches broke out, though police managed to keep the two groups mostly separated and peaceful.

A pro-Donald Trump free speech rally organized by a conservative group has begun.

A protest called "Trump Free Speech" by organizers was held at a federal plaza downtown on Sunday.

In a video posted on Facebook, Gibson condemned Christian and acknowledged that some rallies have attracted "legitimate Nazis".

City leaders questioned the timing of the rally so soon after the TriMet attacks.

Last week Mayor Ted Wheeler unsuccessfully tried to have the permit for the pro-Trump revoked, saying it could further enflame tensions. "The city is in a very emotional state right now".

After the TriMet attacks, a coalition of progressive groups planned their own rally in response.

The Portland Police Bureau promised a strong presence Sunday.

Still, left-wing activists seized on the stabbings as a rallying cry for counter-protests yesterday.

If anything, the police presence Sunday was the highest - and most proactive - yet. Several more arrests were made during that process.

In Schrunk Plaza, some of the protestors at the right-wing rally were dressed in military-style camouflage and American flags, while others wore red Trump "Make America Great Again" caps.

The competing rallies come in the wake of the stabbing deaths of of Ricky Best, 53, and Taliesin Namkai-Meche, 23, as they tried to defend two Muslim women from what police described as a barrage of hate speech.

Joey Gibson, an activist with the pro-Trump group Patriot Prayer, told local media he had arranged for private security to accompany his supporters on Sunday amid fears of violence.

"I'm calling on everyone to please, do everything you can to be positive", he said.

Tensions continued to build one week after a deadly stabbing in Portland, Oregon, as large crowds gathered downtown Sunday for dueling protests. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article. "Hatred is a disease".

"We need to be smart, vigilant and tough", he tweeted out.

A phalanx of helmeted police officers took up positions to keep the two sides apart, break up scuffles and detain protesters seen crossing police lines to agitate the other side. "It's OK to be a conservative in Portland", he said.

The rally did not heed the mayor's calls. They repeatedly praised the Trump administration. They carried signs proclaiming "Supporters of Trump are traitors to America" and "Freedom ends where harm begins".

At least five different rallies or protests are planned in different parts of Portland this afternoon, with four of them scheduled for downtown. They say those who have been identified as participating in criminal activity will be arrested. They also had to dodge balloons filled with a foul-smelling liquid, Fox 12 reported. They said they used "less-lethal chemical munition" such as tear gas to disperse the crowds. After the parks closed, some on the left attempted to march through downtown.