Left and right extremists meet at a crossroads once again in Portland, Ore., as the two rival protest groups have been repeatedly butting heads for the past several months, a constant battle that began even before Trump entered office.
This past Sunday, the protests started as a matter of “free speech protests” by pro-Trump supporters but were quickly met with opposition from anti-fascist protesters, which were organized by immigrant rights, labor and religious groups. By late afternoon, police intervened to break up the crowds by using flash-bang grenades and pepper spray after some protesters began projecting bricks and other objects at officers. Throughout the course of the day, 14 people were arrested after weapons were seized from the crowds. Two of the arrested were found to be carrying a concealed weapon.
Portland police, local media, protest participants and bystanders took to social media to reveal the facets of horror in the Portland protests. Here are some photos that reveal the horror of this turmoil.
Several of the weapons seized so far today. pic.twitter.com/U6z2jO0BVu
— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) June 4, 2017
Police confiscated multitudes of weapons—ranging from bricks to clubs to knives—from protesters.
Another collection of weapons seized today. pic.twitter.com/tdMmMSM2Wp
— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) June 5, 2017
Unidentified suspects on roof of Chapman Square bathroom. Bag of bricks located, possibly taken from building. pic.twitter.com/WtMeIxUXW6
— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) June 5, 2017
Portland Police and Homeland Security officers lined up along SW Madison between two protests pic.twitter.com/BShekdP4GO
— Janaki Chadha (@JanakiChadha) June 4, 2017
— William Gagan (@WillyFoReal) June 4, 2017
Protesting bystanders said the pro-Trump front outweighed the left wing protestors approximately ten to one. Black clothing denoted the right wing protestors whereas camouflage clothing signified left wing protesters.
— Photo Activist (@photoactivist) June 4, 2017
Signs from pro-Trump supporters read, “CNN is ISIS,” and “If you are here legally, welcome home.” Pro-Trump supporters even brought their own band of security, wearing flack jackets and sunglasses to denote themselves.
Pro-Trump rally has hired its own private security for the event. They're all wearing flack jackets, sunglass, etc. pic.twitter.com/DORAamzAL8
— Bryan M. Vance (@BryanMVance) June 4, 2017
Left wing protestors held up signs such as “Fuck Nazis” and “Stay relentless against white suprematists.”
Four observations about the two rallies in downtown Portland today. As a Portlander, I'm glad things didn't get so bad L.A. Times staffer @jaweedkaleem didn't need my help. One, numbers-wise, the right wing "freedom rally" participants were outnumbered by the left wing protests ten to one. So the people spoke in this way after last week's hate stabbings. Two, Portland Police, Oregon State Police and Dept. of Homeland Security officers seemed focused on and physically oriented towards the left wing side. When they started pushing the left wingers back while using flash-bang grenades, I had just moved to the other side (I was dressed like a nerd, as usual: see #3). The right wingers interrupted their rally to go gawk, cheer and jeer as police took over Chapman Square based on what they described in a prerecorded message played via loudspeaker as "criminal activity." Three, visually/stylistically, if you were trying to ascertain which of the two rallies any given person was attending, there was only one consistently solid clue: the American flag. There were right wingers dressed in black, left wingers in camo. Hairstyles and music weren't good clues, and bandanas were ubiquitous. But seemingly without exception, only "patriots" had American flags on. In other words, only one side of this event, the minority, made a visual claim to Being American. Lastly, the police tactics of shepherding and bottling up the spontaneous left wing march down SW 4th Avenue, after police pushed left wingers off Chapman Square, had the potential to create as much danger as it resolved. I get that police cannot allow several hundred people to march down the middle of the street without a permit. It's also worth mentioning that when you're outnumbered by four-to-one or more, as police were in the bottleneck chaos at the end of that march, that must be scary for police, even when they're well armored, as they were. Nonetheless, what they did to stop the march—hem in several hundred people with coordinated action, cutting off three escape routes—had the potential to escalate the situation. #portlandprotest #Defendpdx #J4
Social media saw a wave of protesting messages aside from the vocal protesting in downtown Portland. Although the protests were broken up by police, Portland still stands divided as is the rest of the country over several of the issues highlighted in the protests.
[Featured image via Instagram @mestizo43]