Tensions rise as the city mourns the deadly attack by a white supremacist.
Mounting tensions between pro- and anti-Trump protesters resulted in 14 arrests on Sunday, just more than a week after a Portland white supremacist harassed two teenage girls and stabbed three men who came to their defense.
As Donald Trump supporters met at Portland’s Terry D. Schrunk Plaza in commemoration of a “Trump Free Speech” rally, a group of anti-Trump and anti-fascist protesters began a counterprotest against Trump and the far-right. With the anti-fascist protest about five times the size of the Trump rally, according to Willamette Week, Portland police officers and Homeland Security officers blocked off the two protests and monitored both parties.
But after a back-and-forth exchange of insults between both sides, anti-fascist protesters sent a barrage of bricks, glass bottles, and “foul-smelling liquid” at police officers, leading the police to arrest counterprotesters. By 3:30pm, police declared their protest unlawful, and officers used flash grenades to disperse the crowd.
In total, 14 arrests were made: Three were given citations and released, while 11 others were arrested and charged for various reasons, including carrying a concealed weapon, harassment, disorderly conduct, and interfering with a peace officer. CNN reports that most of the arrests made were anti-fascist and anti-Trump demonstrators.
The protests and subsequent arrests reveal how Portland, though predominantly liberal, is a city still struggling amid growing political tensions and race relations, and that various groups across the political spectrum continue to deal with current events through physical resistance.
“An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us,” Cari Luna, the Democratic Socialists of America’s Portland chapter chair, said according to the Washington Post. “We’re here now, we’re coming together, and we’re saying NO to racism, NO to bigotry. We want a world where every person is truly free, and we’re not going to let the last dinosaurs of the white colonialist patriarchy stand in our way.”
Originally, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler called on the federal government to deny the “Free Speech” rally, citing the recent hate crime attack that has shook the city. The permit was not pulled, and the ACLU of Oregon defended the rally under free speech concerns.
“The government cannot revoke or deny a permit based on the viewpoint of the demonstrators. Period,” the ACLU of Oregon said, the Post reports.
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