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Chief Marshman: Feds bringing in officers for Sunday 'Patriot Prayer' rally

Portland Police Chief Mike Marshman in an interview with KATU News on May 31, 2017 (KATU News photo)

Portland Police Chief Mike Marshman says the Federal Protective Service will bring in officers for Sunday's Patriot Prayer rally, which is expected to bring hundreds, if not thousands, of people to downtown Portland.

The rally was organized by Joey Gibson, a Vancouver-based leader of the Patriot Prayer group, organized Sunday's rally, which is being dubbed a "free speech rally meant to bring back strength and courage to those who believe in freedom."

It begins at 2 p.m. at Terry Schrunk Plaza, and will feature an appearance by Kyle Chapman, a right-wing nationalist. He was arrested earlier this year on battery charges during a protest in Berkeley, Calif.

In response, an opposing group has organized a rally at the same time and place called "Mobilize Labor: Fascists Out of Portland."

After two people were killed and another was injured in a stabbing aboard a MAX train last week, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler pleaded with the federal government to pull the Patriot Prayer's permit to protest at Schrunk Plaza. As the area is controlled by the federal government, city officials had no jurisdiction over the matter.

READ MORE: Deadly MAX stabbing suspect in court: 'You call it terrorism, I call it patriotism'

Following pushback from many legal experts and the local chapter of the ACLU however, the mayor backed down and said the protest can go on as planned. Participants say they are exercising their right to free speech; an activity local government should not stand in the way of.

In an interview with KATU News, Chief Marshman said the Federal Protective Service, a division of Homeland Security, will bring in extra officers for the Sunday rally because the park is federally-owned.

"Since the federal government issued the permit there, I am thankful that they are going to bring in some extra federal protective service employees," Marshman said.

The police chief added that he spoke with Gibson, the leader of the rally, earlier this week.

"[He] said that he didn’t want any violence but they want to get their message out. Again, we are fine with that," Marshman said.

The Portland Police Bureau will also bring in extra officers as they're expecting thousands of people downtown Sunday afternoon -- people protesting and counter-protesting, as well as thousands of people attending Rose Festival activities.

"Hopefully everybody will leave downtown at the end of the day without any violence or injuries," Chief Marshman said.

Representatives with Patriot Prayer have met with city officials regarding the protest.



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