Portland parade canceled after protesters plan to interrupt Republican group

A cardboard cutout of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is seen in the parking lot before a rally in Eugene, Ore. Friday, May 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

PORTLAND, Ore. – A protest group threatened to violently disrupt the Multnomah County Republican Party's group if they took part in the annual 82nd Avenue of the Roses Parade this Saturday.

Parade organizers announced Tuesday that they decided to cancel the parade, one of the first events of the Rose Festival season, citing safety concerns.

The Multnomah County Republican Party (MCRP) was planning to take part in the parade, however someone sent out an email over the weekend that claimed they would have “two hundred or more people rush into the parade into the middle and drag and push them out.”

The email, sent from "thegiver@riseup.net," said they planned to interrupt the Republican Party because they “will not give one inch to groups who espouse hatred toward LGBT, immigrants, people of color, or others.”

The email had links to two different Facebook events -- one from Direct Action Alliance and the other from Oregon Students Empowered -- that were planning to stop the parade.

MCRP Chair James Buchal issued a statement Tuesday to Mayor Ted Wheeler, Police Chief Mike Marshman, and Multnomah County District Atty. Rod Underhill, calling the threat criminal conduct and asking the city and county to prevent any violence on Saturday.

"We advocate for candidates and causes that we believe in, just like anybody else in America under the first amendment," MCRP member Jeffrey Reynolds said. "We have the right to free assembly, we have the right to free speech and they are forcibly threatening us with terroristic activities."

The Republican group expected hundreds of its members to take part in the parade.

A spokesperson for Direct Action Alliance said they are saddened by the decision to cancel the parade, and that they intended to stand up for their community.

"Known members of neo-nazi and anti immigrant hate groups planned to attend the event that was being hosted by the Multnomah County Republicans, we intended to stand between them and those who they wanted to intimidate," the spokesperson said.

You can read full statements from both groups below.

Portland Police Bureau spokesperson Pete Simpson said they were prepared to offer an appropriate police response to any protests at the parade, which they call a traditionally family friendly affair.

The parade organizers said they canceled the parade because they could not guarantee the safety of all the community members taking part in the event.

"(We) have made the difficult decision to cancel the Parade and Carnival ... we are deeply disappointed that the agendas of these outside groups have so regrettably impacted our community," a press release said.

More from the 82nd Avenue of the Roses Parade:

The volunteer-run 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association has served the businesses along 82nd Avenue since 1978. 82nd Avenue of Roses Business District includes more than 1,700 businesses which provide more than 12,000 jobs. Of the more than 25,000 households that call 82nd Avenue home, 32% are people of color.

Below is a statement from the Direct Action Alliance:

"We are disappointed that the Avenue of Roses Parade has been cancelled. As members of this community, we prize our neighborhood events and support events that promote community.

Known members of neo-nazi and anti immigrant hate groups planned to attend the event that was being hosted by the Multnomah County Republicans, we intended to stand between them and those who they wanted to intimidate. We intended to block out their hate and shut down their violence.

They want to march in a family parade and normalize a man who bragged about sexually assaulting women, they want to march in our diverse community and normalize a man who wants to ban Muslims and build between us and our neighbor, Mexico. They want to march as the republican party, but in their ranks are groups like the "Bible Believers" who have already come to this neighborhood to intimidate a local Latinex church and who were filmed assaulting an injured man on the ground in Berkeley last week and were also filmed attacking a woman at PDX in January.

We will always stand with our neighbors, we will always defend our community."


*Editor's note: An earlier version of this story said the email was from someone in the group "riseup" - the author of the email did not specify any affiliation to a particular group.

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