Opposing protests largely peaceful, despite 14 arrests

Counter protesters, anarchists clashed with police in Chapman Square

Thousands of people gathered in downtown Portland for pro and anti-Trump rallies, June 4, 2017. (Portland Tribune)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Thousands of pro-Trump demonstrators and counter protesters converged in downtown Portland Sunday for opposing rallies that remained largely peaceful, despite a group of arrests.

The events came just over a week after a man on a racist tirade fatally stabbed 2 Good Samaritans who stood up to protect 2 teenage girls who were being harassed.

Sunday’s Trump Free Speech Rally was planned before the attack occurred, but Mayor Ted Wheeler didn’t want it to happen out of fear participants would spread “hate and vitriol” as community members mourned the loss of 2 heroes.

In a press conference after the deadly stabbing, Wheeler called on the federal government to revoke the permit for the event, but it went on as scheduled.

Early Sunday, hundreds of local conservatives packed Terry Schrunk Plaza carrying pro-Trump signs and flags, eager to hear from alt-right leader Kyle Chapman.

Across the street, counter protesters converged outside City Hall for an opposition event called Portland Stands United Against Hate. Others who opposed the pro-Trump group, including local anarchists, gathered in Chapman Square.

Thousands of people from various groups and walks of life packed their respective areas, and police spent most of their energy making sure they stayed separated.

Federal Protective Services, along with Oregon State Police and officers from local agencies, were dressed in riot gear, ready to mitigate any potential conflicts.

Three people were taken into custody early on in the events.

Pro-Trump and anti-Trump demonstrators separated by caution tape exchanged chants with each other as they held colorful signs and waved flags in the air.

“Raise your fists, no more white supremacists,” counter protesters yelled.

Many of the anti-Trump protesters outside City Hall told KOIN 6 News they were motivated to come out Sunday to speak out against acts of hate and bigotry.

Counter-protesters hold signs during a pro-Trump rally in downtown Portland, June 4, 2017. (KOIN)

“We’re here standing in solidarity with marginalized communities,” one counter protester said. “We wanted to show people that we’re not afraid and this is our town and we’re not going to tolerate any hatred here.”

On the other side of the caution tape, however, pro-Trump demonstrators said they felt liberals in Portland were the ones spewing hate and acting violently.

“I came out to support our great, great President, Donald J. Trump,” a woman named Martha said. “Our side over here, our patriots have been calm. But Antifa, liberals, very very fierce… it’s just a terrorist group.”

Signs at the event outside City Hall said things like “it’s love that makes the world go round” and “Trump empowers hate” while the Trump Free Speech Rally featured slogans like “BLM are racist thugs” and “diversity is a code word for white genocide”.

Two men hold signs at a pro-Trump rally in downtown Portland, June 4, 2017. (Portland Tribune)

Local unions, members of the Antifa movement and anarchists known for clashing with police made up separate counter events surrounding Terry Schrunk Plaza.

Police spent the first few hours of the events confiscating weapons from people on all sides and mitigating a few minor scuffles between opposing protesters.

Just before 2 p.m., reports came in of counter protesters throwing projectiles from Chapman Square. Police said people were throwing marbles and balloons filled with foul-smelling liquid into Terry Schrunk Plaza. By 3:30 p.m., anarchists were reportedly removing bricks from the Chapman Square bathroom and throwing them at police.

Officers in riot gear quickly jumped into action by deploying tear gas, flash bangs and rubber bullets at the people in Chapman Square. Their tactics quickly altered the tone of the surrounding events, and those in Chapman Square dispersed into the streets.

The Portland Stands United Against Hate was scheduled to end at 4 p.m., but speakers at the Trump Free Speech Rally continued as the clashes occurred.

Counter protesters and anarchists blocked SW 4th Avenue and SW Morrison Street, and police took several more people into custody. The streets were eventually cleared, and by the end of the day’s events a total of 14 people were arrested.

Mugshots for 11 of the 14 people arrested during opposing rallies in downtown Portland, June 4, 2017. (MCSO)

“The intent of law enforcement today was to provide a safe environment for all participants, non-participants, and community members while ensuring the peaceful exercise of the First Amendment,” police said in a press release. “Groups at Portland’s City Hall and Terry Schrunk Plaza were largely peaceful, while a group at Chapman Square required significant attention from law enforcement.”

The following people were arrested during the events:

-Brooks Klehr, 19: second-degree disorderly conduct, carrying a concealed weapon

-Derek Wayne Christensen, 45: carrying a concealed weapon

-Kellan C. McDonald, 34: interfering with a peace officer

-Henry James Best: second-degree disorderly conduct, federal criminal citation

-Kim Michael Sorgente, 46: second-degree disorderly conduct

-Mark Richardson, 31: second-degree disorderly conduct, federal criminal citation

-Andrew Ellott McLoughlin, 20: second-degree disorderly conduct, harassment

-Jordyn Suzanna Hidgon-Luckey, 30: first-degree disorderly conduct

-Kelly Baur, 30: interfering with a peace officer, harassment, disorderly conduct

-Forrest Gabriel Ramona Smith, 21: second-degree disorderly conduct

-Jeremy Daniel Ibarra, 35: second-degree disorderly conduct

Alex  Anthony Fitzgibbon, 26, Timothy Francis Ledwith, 23, and Corey David McGee, 35, were released after being given federal criminal citations, police said.

In response to Sunday’s events, Mayor Wheeler told KOIN 6 News he was “grateful that there were no reports of major injuries and that arrests were minimal.”