1,000+ expected at Portland protests Sunday; 'Patriot Prayer' leader changes location
PORTLAND, Ore. —
The leader of the 'Patriot Prayer' group is shaking up plans for Sunday rally that was scheduled to gather at downtown Portland's Terry Schrunk Plaza and march to Salmon Street Springs Fountain.
Joey Gibson, a prominent right-wing, online personality, announced on Facebook Live Saturday that the rally will instead gather at an event in Vancouver, while only himself and several close supporters will gather at the Portland waterfront "with flags."
Gibson's previous events have drawn hundreds and sometimes thousands of counter-protesters, resulting in violence at past rallies. He says he hopes the change of location Sunday will mitigate clashes between the two groups.
According to Gibson, the main Patriot Prayer event will be held at the Port of Vancouver Amphitheater at 2 PM, and he and his "inner circle" will take to the Portland Waterfront around 12:30 PM.
Also at 12:30 PM, the Portland Stands United Against Hate group will hold a "Rally & March Against White Nationalism" at Terry Schrunk Plaza. The group also plans to march to Salmon Street Springs Fountain at the Waterfront.
The Portland Police Bureau says a permit has been issued for the Portland Stands United Against Hate march, and that officers are aware of the multiple demonstrations expected to occur.
Police say there will be a significant law enforcement presence, due to past threats and acts of violence between the opposing groups both locally and nationally.
While there are no specific indicators that the events will disrupt traffic or transit flow, the Bureau encourages travelers to be prepared for possible delays, or the need to use alternate routes.
The Portland Stands United Against Hate group describes itself as a "a coalition dedicated to mobilizing against white nationalism and the far right."
Gibson says his Patriot Prayer group is about "fighting corruption and big government with the strength and power of love."
Most recently, the two groups clashed at an August 6 rally downtown. Portland Police arrested three people.
WATCH: Antifa group burns American flag at Patriot Prayer rally in Portland, August 6.
Gibson also planned a Patriot Prayer rally in San Francisco last month, but ended up canceling it over concerns of violence.
Thousands of counter-protesters took to San Francisco streets, anyway.
Mayor Ted Wheeler says the city "will not tolerate acts of violence," regarding Sunday's protests.
Read his full statement below:
“On Sunday, Portland will find itself - once again - in the middle of national events, as demonstrators and counter-demonstrators converge on our city. This is not the first set of demonstrations in Portland. This will not be the last. But how we conduct ourselves as a community will send a message about our city to the rest of the nation.
“Portland rejects racism, bigotry, and xenophobia. We reject white supremacy. Messages of hate are not welcome in Portland. We have seen - far too often - how these words of hate can quickly turn to acts of violence. Portland also rejects violence.
“Around the country, we’ve seen demonstrations that have involved arrests and illegal acts. My hope is that we are better than that. We can do it better. We can do it the Portland way. In Portland we celebrate diversity, we stand up for others, we promote unity, and we practice non-violence.
“Over recent weeks, my office has worked closely with the Portland Police Bureau, as well as state, local and federal officials, on plans to protect the safety of everyone who chooses to demonstrate on Sunday. Portland Police will focus on ensuring that people’s right for freedom of expression and speech is protected. However, illegal behavior is not acceptable.
“We will not tolerate acts of violence. We will not tolerate vandalism. We will not tolerate criminal behavior. I call on everyone who plans on demonstrating here Sunday to do so peacefully, to help ensure that everyone goes home safely.”