A Portland man made his way to the recent August 4th rally held by Patriot Prayer to counterprotest, but instead his allies left him with a concussion and gaping wound because he was carrying an American flag.
Paul Welch voted for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary and Hillary Clinton in the general election. That didn’t stop him from becoming Antifas’ latest victim when one of the masked leftists struck him over the head with a metal rod that had been concealed in black cloth. Just one blow to the head buckled Welch, who would eventually need four staples to close the bloody gash.
“I didn’t come as a part of any one group,” Welch said in an interview with The Oregonian/OregonLive. “I was just protesting outsiders coming here for their tacitly fascist event.”
The counterprotest sent 3 people to the hospital after Portland police used “less lethal” riot-control weapons dispersed onto the violent crowd.
“I had felt like showing that a liberal, free Portland or any major city, really is much more American and much more numerous and strong than any of these interloping groups,” Welch said.
The 38-year-old line cook has attended several street protests in Portland, including the Women’s March held during President Trump’s inauguration, and he also stopped by the Occupy ICE encampment to bring those protesting toilet paper, sunblock and water.
“The right and certainly a lot of smaller groups like Patriot Prayer might rush to things like the flag and try to take it up as, ‘This is our symbol exclusively,'” he said. “Part of my thinking was to take it back,” Welch explained.
Welch’s trouble began as the crowd started to march east along Southwest Salmon Street towards Naito Parkway around 12:30 p.m.
With American flag in tow, two members of Antifa, faces covered and donned in black from head to toe, approached Welch, demanding he give them his American flag and calling it a “fascist symbol.” When Welch refused, some tried to rip the flag from his hands, Welch said.
Welch refused to give up the flag and he was subsequently clubbed over the head, causing him to instantly collapse in a puddle of his own blood in the street.
The attacker simply wanders away from Welch and disappears into a sea of black filled with violent Antifa members.
“My bones turned to Jell-O and I just went down,” said Welch, who believes he was struck with a metal object affixed to the end of the weapon.
As Welch lay in a fetal position on the street, another antifa member, holding a shield, stands over the injured Welch and begins to jab him with a makeshift weapon.
“I remember thinking there was a very good chance that I could be beaten to death,” Welch said.
A group of volunteer street medics rushed to Welch’s aid and another medic eventually got Welch into a car and drove straight to an Urgent Care clinic on North Interstate Avenue to be treated for his wound.
The 3-inch gash in the back of Welch’s head required 4 staples and he spent the next two days recovering from a concussion before he was able to return to work.
According to Portland police spokesman Sgt. Chris Burley, Welch filed a police report and it had been confirmed the bureau opened an investigation into the incident.
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