As predicted in an earlier article the streets of Portland, Oregon did know the taste of blood. A series of fights broke out during Saturdays protest as members of Antifa and those supporting Patriot Prayer refused to back down from each other. Local authorities used flash bang grenades and other means that were necessary to try to separate the two groups. The same number of people found themselves arrested this time as last time the two groups clashed in Portland earlier this Summer. According to a statement released by the Portland Police Bureau four people who were involved in the fights found themselves arrested. It isn’t really any surprise to know that police had to confiscate weapons throughout the day from members of both groups. It is clear that nobody went to Portland, Oregon for cookies and tea. They wanted blood, and blood they got.
One of the people who found themselves injured in yesterdays melee that took place in Portland wasn’t there as a participant. A reporter from Oregon local media outlet The Oregonian/OregonLive found themselves injured and bloodied after being struck by a projectile. Later in the day there was a tweet on Twitter from Eder Campuzano that let everyone who was concerned for his well being know he was okay.
Supporters of Patriot Prayer and a group affiliated with Patriot Prayer called the Proud Boys gathered together around mid day Saturday in a riverfront park. From across the street they found themselves confronted by a large group of counter protesters holding banners and signs with messages that read “Alt right scum not welcome in Portland.” Others chanted, “Nazi’s go home.”The local law enforcement of Portland, Oregon were prepared for the potential clashes that might take place between the two groups as they tried to form a human wall that would keep the two groups apart by standing in the middle of the four lane road.
Those who stood in opposition of Patriot Prayer consisted of a number of labor unions who for this one day came together as one group themselves, advocates for immigrant rights, democratic socialist, and other groups. There were clowns and a brass band blaring music in an attempt to silence the voices of those who were there as part of Patriot Prayer’s group.
The rally that took place Saturday was the third one that Joey Gibson has arranged in Portland since the summer started. The two previous rally’s ended up with bloody fistfights and riots. The violence in those situations got so bad that it sent a counter protester to the hospital with a fractured skull. The location change for this rally allowed Patriot Prayer and their supporters to be better prepared for attacks from members of Antifa that they were certain would come their direction.
There are many who feel that Joey Gibson’s Patriot Prayer group is a hate group. It isn’t any real surprise that Gibson would dispute that view. While speaking to Portland local media Joey Gibson said, “We’re here to promote freedom and God. That’s it.Our country is getting soft.”
The presence of police was strongly felt by all who were in attendance as the police took measures to maintain the peace. In a statement from the local police members on both sides of the protest were informed that if there was a violation of law their weapons would be taken, and let it be known that it is illegal to carry a loaded firearm in public unless someone has a valid Oregon concealed handgun license.
Just before 2:oo p.m. violence reached the point that police in riot gear had to order people to leave a downtown area after they found themselves attacked by demonstrators who were throwing rocks and bottles at them. While using a loud speaker police announced, “get out of the street!”
The fact that there are people in this country who will not allow themselves to be broken and surrender to others who do not share their views have caused there to be a debate about the limits of free speech in an America that has found itself broken and separated by the different political views that we all have. This was not the first Patriot Prayer rally to end in violence, it won’t be the last. But until people stop trying to silence each other there must be those who are willing to exercise their First Amendment rights no matter what the cost and the streets of any city that those who support the First Amendment find themselves in will always know the taste of blood.