PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Just one day after an anti-fascist rally marched through the streets of Portland in a peaceful demonstration, another march sponsored locally by self-described anarchists rolled through downtown Portland Sunday evening.
The Million Mask March — where participants wear Guy Fawkes masks — is described as a “global movement that takes place each year on November 5th,” on the Facebook page for the event. A website for the event claims 800 cities around the world will take part in this event.
There were no arrests made, contrary to last year’s march where 6 people were arrested.
The London-based The Sun said thousands of people were expected to take part there, beginning at Trafalgar Square and marching past Whitehall, Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament.
In Portland, their Facebook page listed the start time as 7 p.m. at SW 10th and Morrison. It’s also listed as free and “kid friendly,” though the sponsors also stated, “This being an ‘anarchist hosted event’ we hope you will prepare accordingly.”
Portland’s organizer, who only wanted to be known as “X” said not only are people marching, but they’re also working behind the scenes to create change.
“I know this year the anonymous collective are focusing on counteracting Russian troll farms,” he said.
“We like to focus on basic human rights that get taken away every day.”
The event remained peaceful throughout the night. The marchers in masks walked onto the Hawthorne Bridge round 7:30 p.m. where police were waiting for them. The police, in riot gear, formed a line and didn’t let the people onto the streets. Eventually they got the marchers to stay on the sidewalk and keep marching in either direction.
The local organizers, the Anarchist Student Union, described themselves as “a collective of Portland students dedicated to the struggle against oppression in all of its forms.”
They said the purpose of this Million Mask March is multi-pronged:
“-Down with the banks that hold the world hostage.
-Limit big government that holds the boot to our throats.
-End the militarization of the police and their abusive tactics.
This year in PDX we will be taking to the streets to voice our anger. “
Last year in Portland, 6 people were arrested during the demonstration that blocked traffic and MAX trains in NE Portland. The protesters blocked traffic on I-5 in SE Portland and other areas downtown. Police were focused on preventing crashes between drivers and protesters.
Protesters generally wear nearly identical masks — white face masks with distinctive eyes, an upcurled thin mustache that tends to give the appearance of a smirk.
Guy Fawkes was an English Catholic who planned the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 which wanted to blow up the House of Lords. They failed. Fawkes and 3 others were hanged and quartered in Januay 1606.
Since then, Guy Fawkes Night is celebrated across Britain with fireworks, a show of thanks the plot failed. However, the festival also fueled anti-Catholic bigotry.
KOIN 6 News will have more information later in the day.