PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Members of the Proud Boys and other right-wing demonstrators march across the Hawthorne Bridge during an “End Domestic Terrorism” rally in Portland, Ore., on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. The group includes organizer Joe Biggs, in green hat, and Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio, holding megaphone. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
A posted sign reads “Be Safe. August 17th” is posted in Portland, Ore., Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. Right-wing groups and counterprotesters gathered in downtown Portland, Oregon, on Saturday and authorities set up concrete barriers and closed streets in an effort to contain the groups. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)
Stores close down for the day as a safety precaution as right-wing groups and counterprotesters gathered in downtown Portland, Ore., on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. Flag-waving members of the Proud Boys and Three Percenters militia group began gathering late in the morning, some wearing body armor and helmets. Meanwhile black clad, helmet and mask-wearing anti-fascist protesters — known as antifa — were also among the several hundred people on the streets. (AP Photo/Moriah Ratner)
Portland Police prepare to head towards Tom McCall Waterfront Park as right-wing groups and counterprotesters gathered in downtown Portland, Ore., on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. Flag-waving members of the Proud Boys and Three Percenters militia group began gathering late in the morning, some wearing body armor and helmets. Meanwhile black clad, helmet and mask-wearing anti-fascist protesters — known as antifa — were also among the several hundred people on the streets. (AP Photo/Moriah Ratner)
Left-aligning protesters gather near Battleship Oregon Memorial Marine Park on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in downtown Portland, Ore. Hundreds of far-right protesters and anti-fascist counter-demonstrators swarmed the downtown area, as police set up concrete barriers and closed streets and bridges in an effort to contain and separate the rival groups. (AP Photo/Moriah Ratner)
Members of the Proud Boys and other right-wing demonstrators march along the Willamette River during an “End Domestic Terrorism” rally in Portland, Ore., on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. Police have mobilized to prevent clashes between conservative groups and counter-protesters who converged on the city. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Police seized metal poles, bear spray and other weapons Saturday as hundreds of far-right protesters and anti-fascist counter-demonstrators swarmed downtown Portland, Oregon, in a situation the mayor termed “potentially dangerous and volatile.”

Authorities also set up concrete barriers and closed streets and bridges in an effort to contain and separate the rival groups.

Flag-waving members of the Proud Boys and Three Percenters militia group began gathering late in the morning, some wearing body armour and helmets. Meanwhile black clad, helmet and mask-wearing anti-fascist protesters — known as antifa — were also among the several hundred people on the streets.

Police said they had seized the weapons, including shields, from multiple groups that were gathering on both sides of the Willamette River, which runs through the city.

More than two dozen local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, were in the city for the right-wing rally that was expected to draw people from across the country.

Police said over a loudspeaker that people on the streets for the unpermitted rallies could be arrested. At least one person was arrested.

The gathering was hyped on social media and elsewhere for weeks. In the days leading up the event Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said people who espoused hate or engaged in violence were “not welcome.”

In a Saturday morning tweet, President Donald Trump wrote “Portland is being watched very closely” and that “Hopefully the Mayor will be able to properly do his job.”

He also wrote that “major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an ‘ORGANIZATION of TERROR.’”

ALSO READ: Patriot Prayer’s Joey Gibson arrested ahead of planned rally

But it wasn’t immediately clear what he meant by that as there’s no mechanism for the United States government to declare a domestic organization a terror group. The State Department maintains a list of designated foreign terrorist organizations, such as al Qaida, but there’s no comparable designation or list for American groups.

Wheeler responded to the president’s tweet in an interview with CNN, saying, “frankly, it’s not helpful.” Wheeler added: “This is a potentially dangerous and volatile situation, and adding to that noise doesn’t do anything to support or help the efforts that are going on here in Portland.”

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa. Also on hand were people dressed in colorful outfits and those who attended a nearby prayer service, holding signs that said things such as “No Trump, No NRA.”

Self-described anti-fascists had vowed to confront the rally while leaders from the far right urged their followers to turn out in large numbers to protest the arrests of six members of right-wing groups in the run-up to the event.

Patriot Prayer’s Joey Gibson, who organized similar rallies in 2017 and 2018 that erupted in clashes, surrendered Friday on an arrest warrant for felony rioting. He was at a confrontation that broke out on May 1 outside a bar where antifa members had gathered after a May Day demonstration.

In a video he livestreamed on Facebook, Gibson accused the police of playing politics by arresting him but not the masked demonstrators who beat up conservative blogger Andy Ngo at a June 29 rally that drew national attention.

A video of that attack went viral and led the Proud Boys, who have been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, to organize Saturday’s event.

“They want you to not show up in Portland, they want to put fear in your hearts,” Gibson said.

Portland Police Bureau spokeswoman Tina Jones declined to comment about specific arrests but said generally police continue to investigate several incidents from clashes on May 1 and June 29 and are politically neutral.

Antifa members often cover their faces with masks, making it harder to identify them.

In addition to the Proud Boys and Three Percenters, the white nationalist American Guard also said it would have members in Portland.

The Oath Keepers, another far-right militia group, said in a statement they were pulling out of the rally because organizers have not done enough to keep white supremacist groups away.

“It would be best for the patriot/conservative cause if this August 17 rally were simply cancelled,” the group’s founder, Stewart Rhodes, wrote.

Authorities asked residents not to call 911 unless it’s a life-threatening emergency and to stay away from the heart of downtown.

Gillian Flaccus, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Health minister announces new urgent care centre in Kelowna

Adrian Dix made the annoucment Thursday at the Capri Centre

Provincial Mobile Medical Unit makes an appearance in Kelowna

The high tech hospital on wheels provides medical care for rural communities and during emergencies

Special Olympics fundraiser comes to downtown Kelowna

motionball Marathon of Sport kicks-off in City Park Saturday

Private sector development will create housing affordability: Wilkinson

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkenson spoke in Kelowna during a real estate conference

Human case of West Nile virus reported in B.C.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control confirmed case reported on Vancouver Island in August

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

South Okanagan driver held at gunpoint, car-jacked on East Side Road

Penticton RCMP are asking for the public to keep an eye out for the suspect, stolen vehicle

VIDEO: Tempers flare during Sagmoen’s police interview

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

Nanaimo beekeepers take down nest of invasive giant hornets

One nest eradicated at Nanaimo’s Robins Park, but there are still Asian giant hornets around

Cross-Canada cyclist riding for sobriety makes next B.C. stop

BMX biker Mat Fee stopped during the final leg of his charity bike ride in Sicamous

John Horgan promises action after fatal mid-Island bus crash

Premier cites students, local Indigneous community as reason to repair the road

On this day 126 years ago New Zealand women granted right to vote

New Zealand women beat Canadians to the polls by 26 years

EDITORIAL: Past actions haunt candidates

Justin Trudeau and Andrew Scheer dogged by incidents from earlier years

How to get that Spark Joy feeling

Barb and Wendy at Simply Spark Joy help you to create a clutter free home on the Black Press Media

Most Read