Large groups of free speech activists and left wing anarchists clashed in Portland on Saturday, as dozens of police in riot gear attempted to keep the dueling protests apart.
Independent journalist Tim Pool is on the ground livestreaming:
The free speech rally was advertised as having “speakers exercising their free speech, live music, flags, and an uplifting experience to bring back strength and courage to those who believe in freedom,” according to its Facebook event page.
“The free speech side is chanting ‘blue lives matter,’ while the antifa side is chanting ‘A-C-A-B, all cops are bastards,’” Pool noted during his livestream of the event, while also observing that there were more riot police blocking the anarchist side. He also stated that for the most part, the free speech side was compliant with police when given orders — in contrast to their opposition.
Pool also stated, “there’s so many people here chanting Nazis out — but they don’t realize that these people aren’t Nazis,” though he noted that there may be some white nationalists mixed in, they did not make up the entire group.
Meanwhile, the Rose City Antifa group advertised that “white supremacists” were invading the city, and openly called for violence against attendees and stated that they do not condemn vandalism (emphasis added by Big League Politics).
“We are unapologetic about the reality that fighting fascism at points requires physical militancy. Anti-fascism is, by nature, a form of self-defense: the goal of fascism is to exterminate the vast majority of human beings. However, we realize that not everyone is able to do that type of work for a wide variety of reasons,” the counter protest organizers wrote on their Facebook event page. “We cannot emphasize enough that a diverse range of other forms of resistance are also crucial. There are groups in attendance that will be prepared to handle physical opposition, and all those compelled are welcome to join in that effort. We want to be clear that we are by no means expecting the entire rally to want, or be able, to do that. We ask that all rally attendees respect the boundaries and safety of one another.”
The far-left anarchists also printed flyers with the names and faces of people who had RSVP’d to attend the event, accusing them of being neo-Nazis — and held a training course to teach “self-defense” on the eve of the rally.
Hundreds of people were gathered on either side of the park, with large amounts of police dividing the two groups. Around noon, local time, the police moved in on the antifa side for the first time, confiscating a giant skeleton that some of the anarchists had brought to the protest.
Pool noted that the antifa side was growing rapidly by afternoon, and quickly outnumbered the free speech activists. There was also another counter protest to the free speech rally across the street which was organized by a union. While they seemed to want to appear separate from the antifa group, the local SEIU had hosted the training event organized by Rose City Antifa at their headquarters.
In addition to law enforcement present at the rally, there was also private security that had volunteered their services to the free speech activists — including members of the Oathkeepers.
In their flyers, antifa had specifically called for people to oppose Kyle Chapman, better known as Based Stick Man, who was scheduled to speak at the permitted rally.
“The systematic leftist oppression of right wing freedom loving Americans will no longer be tolerated. We will fight for our god given rights just as our ancestors did. We are warriors,” Chapman told Big League Politics.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler had previously called on the federal government to block the free speech rally, as well as an anti-Sharia Law march scheduled for June 10, which was quickly condemned by the ACLU as a violation of the First Amendment.