World News – United States – Portland fears violence as ‘proud boys’ group take to town


Oregon governor declared emergency ahead of event organized by right-wing group with a history of violence during protests Local black activists planned event nearby

PORTLAND, Ore – Members of the right-wing Proud Boys and their supporters arrived at a Portland park on Saturday as left-wing activists staged their own counter-rallies, raising the temperature of an already struggling city then that the leaders pleaded so that the gatherers refrain from all violence

Gov Kate Brown declared a state of emergency ahead of the arrival of the Proud Boys, an all-male group whose members – many of whom back President Trump – often engage in provocations, threats, or fight with opponents during their events SP Brown’s statement paved the way for a major law enforcement presence in hopes of separating the dueling groups, but there were fears that people coming to the park with violent intentions would nonetheless find a way to wreak havoc

Downtown Portland has been rocked by protests this summer, first over police killings of blacks, and later over the Trump administration’s decision to send federal agents in the city to try to quell the demonstrations And protests across the United States resumed this week after a Kentucky grand jury decided not to indict one of two Louisville cops who shot Breonna Taylor, a black emergency technician, in her own apartment

Protesters in Louisville clashed with police again on Friday night, with police firing flash-bang grenades and arresting 22 people; more protests were scheduled for Saturday In New York City, hundreds of protesters held a sit-in for over an hour on the Brooklyn Bridge, where many took a knee in honor of Ms Taylor People are also took to the streets of Oakland, Seattle, Boston and Albuquerque, where a motorist reportedly attempted to drive a car through the crowd, although no one was injured

In Portland, the Proud Boys described Saturday’s event in the city’s Delta Park as a rally to « end domestic terrorism » which they say is being carried out in Portland and other cities by leftist protestors, including supporters of antifa, the free group of activists who sometimes use violence to prevent people from promoting views they deem fascist or racist

But many in Portland see the event as a thinly veiled excuse from the right-wing group to brawl with their ideological opposites Among the 200 or so Proud Boys gathered on Saturday morning, hours before the main event, some wore weapons Others had bulletproof vests and other tactical gear

« The pattern for these particular groups is clear: intimidate, incite and inflame, » Gov Brown said on Friday

A coalition of left-wing groups staged a protest in an area of ​​town known as Vanport, just down the street from the Proud Boys event, and officials fear members of both groups will try to clash State Police have promised a « massive influx » of soldiers to separate them Another event promoted by Portland residents – crafts and other up-and-coming activities – has been scheduled downtown, miles from Delta Park

Alex Sundine, a member of Black Unity PDX, an activist group from Portland, said organizers of the counter-rally, which began meeting about half a mile from the Proud Boys demonstration on Saturday, planned to focus on theirs event and ignore the efforts of Proud Boys members to engage them

Among other things, organizers said they would discuss the history of the Vanport neighborhood, a former home of many black shipbuilders who have been kept out of Portland by discriminatory housing practices The city was destroyed when the Columbia River inundated it in 1948, and part of it was later turned into Delta Park, the site the Proud Boys members chose for their gathering.

« It’s a history lesson that is almost meant to make people aware of what this land was and what it means – and to remind people of how our society treats black people, » said Mr. Sundine said

While publicly condemning anyone who hoped for violence, Enrique Tarrio, the leader of the Proud Boys, admitted in an interview on Friday that skirmishes were possible, if not likely.

« I would be stupid to say that I don’t expect someone to come along with any type of nefarious motive, » he said, pledging to report such a person to the police. / p>

Earlier this month, M Tarrio posted online that « the antifa is in a bad spot » if law enforcement was not present at the event

The group sharply criticized Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler for failing to take a firmer line against protesters who clashed with officers outside a downtown federal courthouse during the ‘night clashes for several weeks The Proud Boys welcomed Ms Brown’s Emergency Ordinance, which also allowed state and local police to use tear gas, which the mayor had banned city police officers from using

In a statement this week, M Wheeler, a Democrat, said he was more worried about the arrival of Saturday protesters than the ongoing protests against racial injustice in his town

« I categorically condemn the violence of all kinds committed by all, » Mr. Wheeler said in a statement, “But let me be clear, the alternative right and white supremacist groups organizing to come to Portland on Saturday present the greatest threat we have faced so far. »

The Proud Boys have hosted similar events, including last summer in Portland and Washington DC, which both included fierce skirmishes

On Friday, Alan Swinney, one of the far-right activists involved in the clashes this summer in Portland, said he had been charged and planned to surrender The charges he faced were not immediately clear

Portland has a long history of left-wing activists organizing to confront white supremacists or other far-right groups.Some incidents have occurred as progressive city organizers attempted to quash some of the most explicit remnants of the region’s troubled racial history, which included Oregon’s status as the only non-slave state to join the union with a constitutional clause excluding blacks

In the Trump era, various right-wing groups, including the Proud Boys, staged events in the city, some with the explicit intention of sparking confrontations with local activists Leftists, including those who do part of the Rose City Antifa collective, one of the largest and most organized antifa groups, have come together to oppose them

« The anti-fascist position has always been: never let fascists control the streets, » said Joseph Lowndes, a professor of political science at the University of Oregon who studies right-wing political tendencies Mr. Lowndes said that While events that attract groups like the Proud Boys often lead to violence, he was concerned that recent events in Portland – including the August murder of an antifa supporter of Aaron J Danielson, an activist for the group far-right Patriot Prayer – raises prospect of even more intense confrontation

Proud Boys

World News – United States – Portland fears violence as « Proud Boys » group hit town



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