PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Chaos erupted quickly when opposing groups faced off over differing views on white nationalism in downtown Portland, prompting at least 7 arrests, confrontations, a change in the permitted march route and violent actions that resulted in at least 2 officers being injured.
Then the protest that began in Portland moved across the river into Vancouver, where Joey Gibson’s Patriot Prayer group gathered.
Gibson announced Saturday he moved the main Patriot Prayer protest from downtown Portland to the Port of Vancouver Amphitheater. Vancouver police officials told KOIN 6 News they are prepared to handle whatever crowds may show up.
And they were ready.
Dozens of police — including some officers sent by the Portland Police Bureau — stood between the Patriot Prayer ralliers and those who arrived at the Port of Vancouver to counter-protest. Neither group got close to the other, the speeches were made, the chants were yelled and then the official event ended with a round of media interviews.
But that didn’t stop the protests.
The anti-white nationalists marched through the streets of Vancouver, engaging in some confrontations while chanting “Go home, Nazis!”
Just before 4:30 p.m. the driver of a 4×4 truck sped through the crowd of marchers. Though no one was hit, it created chaos. Police surrounded the truck as marchers rapidly approached. 2 people were arrested, according to Vancouver Police.
Earlier in Portland
The anti-white nationalist rally and march, sponsored by Portland Stands United Against Hate, brought both a large crowd and a large police presence in downtown Portland. The “Rally & March Against White Nationalism” began at 12:30 p.m. at Terry Schrunk Plaza with speakers, musicians and a tame crowd. The march to Salmon Street Fountain at Waterfront Park began earlier than expected and led to almost immediate confrontation and the quick escalation of actions from the opposing factions.
Within minutes, opposing protesters were engaged in confrontations with each other and with police. At least 2 people were arrested quickly, and more protesters were arrested as the events continued.
Then around 2:15 p.m., the main rally returned to Terry Schrunk Plaza, where speakers urged protesters to go to Vancouver for the Patriot Prayer rally.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler went on record Friday with a warning to protesters who may cause trouble:
“Portland Police will focus on ensuring that people’s right for freedom of expression and speech is protected. However, illegal behavior is not acceptable. We will not tolerate acts of violence. We will not tolerate vandalism. We will not tolerate criminal behavior.”
Dozens of Vancouver police officers were seen at the Port of Vancouver even before the Portland protesters arrived.
Earlier, ODOT closed the sidewalks on both spans of the Interstate Bridge until 5 p.m. because of these protests.
This is at least the 4th time in 3 months that these opposing groups faced off over what each claims is a free speech issue, but the first time it moved from Portland to Vancouver.
Glossary of terms from Merriam-Webster
one of a group of militant whites who espouse white supremacy and advocate enforced racial segregation
a member of a German fascist party controlling Germany from 1933 to 1945 under Adolf Hitler
a : one who espouses the beliefs and policies of the German Nazis : fascist
b : one who is likened to a German Nazi : a harshly domineering, dictatorial, or intolerant person
a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
: a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control