The dueling demonstrations garnered national attention, including fromPresident Donald Trump, who tweetedearlier Saturday in reference to self-described anti-fascists, some of whom are known collectively as antifa, “Major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an “ORGANIZATION OF TERROR.” Portland is being watched very closely. Hopefully the Mayor will be able to properly do his job!”
Portland police tweeted about 30 minutes after the protests started at 11 a.m. that officers were there to protect people’s right to speak freely.
“PPB and our partners are here to protect everyone’s safety while facilitating everyone’s 1st Amendment right to gather and speak. It is the foundation of our democracy and critical to Portland’s identity,”police tweeted.
Officers worked to keep the opposing groups apart and nearly an hour after the demonstrations began police said they had seized weapons from participants including bear spray, shields, and poles.
Authorities were also receiving reports of individuals carrying weapons and wearing protective equipment trying to infiltrate opposing groups at multiple locations.
The far-right demonstration wasorganized by members of the Proud Boys, whose founder has described it as a “fraternal organization” for young “Western chauvinist” men. The goal of the so-called “End Domestic Terrorism” rally, they said, was to getantifa, declared as a domestic terrorist organization.
One antifa protester at the rally, Skyler, told MSNBC that she wants “to show is that the far right has no place in America.”