PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As expected, right-wing groups who gathered along Portland’s waterfront were met by anti-fascists early Saturday as a heavy police presence kept a close eye on the unfolding situation.
Members of the Proud Boys were seen gathering at the Morrison Bridge around 9 a.m. and began marching south around 10 a.m. Around 10:30 a.m., some Proud Boys held a prayer meeting underneath a US flag as dozens of onlookers and media watched.
Then the Proud Boys began to cross the Morrison Bridge as members of antifa shouted, “Go home, Nazis.”
The demonstrators collided after highly-charged and inflammatory rhetoric on social media over the past few weeks and months in a protest of ideologies.
Far-right groups such as the Proud Boys, Three Percenters and Vancouver-based Patriot Prayer plus the neo-Nazi group Daily Stormers will take over the waterfront in downtown Portland.
Steven Howard, a Vancouver resident who was the Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi, told KOIN 6 News he will attend the protest on Saturday.
They will be met by anti-fascists — aka, antifa — who have vowed to match the far-right’s “toxic masculinity” with “toxic masculinity” of their own.
No group has applied for a permit with the City of Portland for a march or rally.
Watch Live: Protesters in Portland (Warning: Graphic Language)
One right-wing group, though, will not attend. Oath Keepers’ leader Stewart Rhodes announced Thursday they will not attend the rally because the organizers — Joe Biggs and the Proud Boys — haven’t done enough to “exclude known or suspected white nationalists from attending.”
City leaders, civic leaders and law enforcement have tried to get in front of this demonstration which has the real potential for violence.
In a pre-emptive move, officials closed the Hawthorne Bridge for Saturday, shut down SW 2nd between Madison and Main and put concrete barriers along SW Naito.
‘Don’t spread your hate’
Mayor Ted Wheeler told KOIN 6 News on August 6 “things will be different” for this demonstration.
Wednesday, Wheeler, PPB Chief Danielle Outlaw, elected officials, business leaders plus the Timbers and Thorns rallied at Pioneer Courthouse Square with one unified message: Don’t come to Portland to spread your hate.
And then on Friday, PPB Lt. Tina Jones held a press conference that listed the regional, state and federal agencies — including the FBI and Federal Protective Services — that are staged and ready for whatever takes place.
Chief Outlaw canceled anyone’s day off at PPB.
Portland police say they’ve been in contact with organizers on both sides in an effort “to achieve the goal of a safe event.”
This protest comes about 5 days after the 2nd anniversary of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that ended with the death of Heather Heyer at the hands neo-Nazi James Fields, who was sentenced life in prison plus 419 years.
KOIN 6 News has complete coverage. Live Streams on KOIN.com throughout the day.
Glossary of Terms
Alt-Right: a right-wing, primarily online political movement or grouping based in the U.S. whose members reject mainstream conservative politics and espouse extremist beliefs and policies typically centered on ideas of white nationalism
Fascism: 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
neo-Nazi: a member of a group espousing the programs and policies of Hitler’s Nazis
Nazi: a member of a German fascist party controlling Germany from 1933 to 1945 under Adolf Hitler; one who espouses the beliefs and policies of the German Nazis : FASCIST; one who is likened to a German Nazi : a harshly domineering, dictatorial, or intolerant person
Antifa: a person or group actively opposing fascism, an anti-fascist movement