PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A pro-Trump rally will go on as scheduled despite Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s request that the federal government revoke their permit.
The federal government rejected Wheeler’s request to cancel the permit for a provocative conservative rally in Terry Schrunk Plaza — which is federal land — on Sunday.
Although the General Services Administration had previously issued the permit, Wheeler called for it to be canceled following the racist attack on a MAX train last Friday that left 2 dead and one injured.
The GSA said all rules had been followed in applying for the permit, however.
“Since the permit was lawfully obtained to assemble at this federal location, GSA has no basis to revoke the permit,” it wrote
But while the pro-Trump supporters will head for the plaza, opposing groups are expected to gather in city-owned Chapman Square immediately across the street.
Portland police believe a confrontation is likely.
One big issue is whether the Trump supporters will have their own armed security around the perimeter of the federally-owned park, where no guns are allowed. Opponents plan to use physical force, if necessary.
James Buchal, the head of the Multnomah County Republican Party, told KOIN 6 News he’s in favor of a private, armed security force to protect Republicans at their public events.
But the Sunday rally, organized by the conservative Patriot Prayer group, guns are banned by federal law at Terry Schrunk Plaza. They are allowed on city streets and sidewalks.
Meanwhile, groups such as Direct Action Alliance and Rose City Antifa oppose the rally and will gather at Chapman Square. They plan to physically block the pro-Trump group if they head to the streets.
Wheeler said, “There will be protests and counter-protests this weekend in Portland. We have reached out to the organizers to call upon them to exercise common sense and to help us keep the peace. There will be local and federal law enforcement on the ground to ensure everyone has the right to express their beliefs and to protect everyone’s safety. I urge everyone participating to reject violence. Our city has seen enough.”
One concern people have about the rallies is hateful speech, something the American Civil Liberties Union says is protected.
“Hate speech is protected by the first amendment,” ACLU of Oregon Legal Director Mat dos Santos said. “Unless there is concrete evidence of a clear threat of violence, the government can’t just pull a permit because people are angry.”
The Portland Tribune, a KOIN media partner, contributed to this report.