Police revoke permit for march, declare downtown Portland protests a riot
Portland Police declared an out-of-control protest in downtown Portland a riot Saturday, and ordered everyone to leave the area immediately.
Authorities deployed flash bangs and tear gas as dueling protesters threw fireworks, eggs and other objects at each other.
Police made several probable cause arrests at the riot and seized multiple weapons.
The "Freedom and Courage" rally hosted by the right-wing Patriot Prayer group and its well-known leader, Joey Gibson, gathered at Terry Schrunk Plaza before taking to the streets. The group was granted a permit for the march, but police canceled it once violence ensued.
A heavy presence of antifa (antifascist) protesters gathered in the area for a "Defend PDX: Patriot Prayer's Violence Must End" rally. The protest, hosted by the Rose City Antifa, said "it is very important that antifascists keep up the pressure so that we can stop them once and for all," in reference to the far-right Patriot Prayer group.
For hours, the two groups mostly yelled at each other, but once the Patriot Prayer members mobilized the situation quickly spiraled into violence.
Joey Gibson, who is currently a U.S. Senate candidate for Washington, made a long speech to his group at Terry Schrunk Plaza before the march. Many Patriot Prayer members wore "Gibson for Senate" T-shirts while singing along to "We Will Rock You" by Queen at the rally.
Members of the Vancouver-based group arrived at Saturday's event on school buses.
"Courage is the backbone to freedom," reads the description on the 'Freedom and Courage' rally event page. "The nation is EXTREMELY angry about how Portland citizens treated Freedom Loving Americans who marched in the streets of this dangerous city."
On June 3, the same two groups clashed in downtown Portland at — you guessed it —Terry Schrunk Plaza.
The early June event was labeled by Patriot Prayer as a kind of going away celebration for one of their leaders: Tusitala Toese, also known as "Tiny."
A heavy law enforcement presence infiltrated downtown Portland Saturday due to past threats and acts of violence between the two groups. Department of Homeland Security officers were also present at the plaza, as Terry Schrunk is federal property.
Micah Fletcher, the young man who survived a brutal stabbing on a Portland MAX train last year was spotted at Saturday's antifa protest playing the drums for a brass band. Fletcher has outwardly decried the Patriot Prayer group, of which the stabbing suspect Jeremy Christian associated himself with at a rally one month before the deadly May 2017 incident.
The leaders of Patriot Prayer have said Christian had nothing to do with their organization, lambasting his actions.
After police ordered everyone out of the street Saturday, the Patriot Prayer group returned to Terry Schrunk Plaza, and the antifa group returned to Chapman Square.
Police shut down Chapman Square and Lownsdale Square a short time later, and the Federal Protective Service eventually shut down Terry Schrunk Plaza — forcing the Patriot Prayer event to shutdown.