PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Members of the Proud Boys and other right-wing demonstrators march across the Hawthorne Bridge during an “End Domestic Terrorism” rally in Portland, Ore., on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. The group includes organizer Joe Biggs, in green hat, and Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio, holding megaphone. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
A posted sign reads “Be Safe. August 17th” is posted in Portland, Ore., Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. Right-wing groups and counterprotesters gathered in downtown Portland, Oregon, on Saturday and authorities set up concrete barriers and closed streets in an effort to contain the groups. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)
Stores close down for the day as a safety precaution as right-wing groups and counterprotesters gathered in downtown Portland, Ore., on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. Flag-waving members of the Proud Boys and Three Percenters militia group began gathering late in the morning, some wearing body armor and helmets. Meanwhile black clad, helmet and mask-wearing anti-fascist protesters — known as antifa — were also among the several hundred people on the streets. (AP Photo/Moriah Ratner)
Portland Police prepare to head towards Tom McCall Waterfront Park as right-wing groups and counterprotesters gathered in downtown Portland, Ore., on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. Flag-waving members of the Proud Boys and Three Percenters militia group began gathering late in the morning, some wearing body armor and helmets. Meanwhile black clad, helmet and mask-wearing anti-fascist protesters — known as antifa — were also among the several hundred people on the streets. (AP Photo/Moriah Ratner)
Left-aligning protesters gather near Battleship Oregon Memorial Marine Park on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in downtown Portland, Ore. Hundreds of far-right protesters and anti-fascist counter-demonstrators swarmed the downtown area, as police set up concrete barriers and closed streets and bridges in an effort to contain and separate the rival groups. (AP Photo/Moriah Ratner)
Members of the Proud Boys and other right-wing demonstrators march along the Willamette River during an “End Domestic Terrorism” rally in Portland, Ore., on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. Police have mobilized to prevent clashes between conservative groups and counter-protesters who converged on the city. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Police seized metal poles, bear spray and other weapons Saturday as hundreds of far-right protesters and anti-fascist counter-demonstrators swarmed downtown Portland, Oregon, in a situation the mayor termed “potentially dangerous and volatile.”

Authorities also set up concrete barriers and closed streets and bridges in an effort to contain and separate the rival groups.

Flag-waving members of the Proud Boys and Three Percenters militia group began gathering late in the morning, some wearing body armour and helmets. Meanwhile black clad, helmet and mask-wearing anti-fascist protesters — known as antifa — were also among the several hundred people on the streets.

Police said they had seized the weapons, including shields, from multiple groups that were gathering on both sides of the Willamette River, which runs through the city.

More than two dozen local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI, were in the city for the right-wing rally that was expected to draw people from across the country.

Police said over a loudspeaker that people on the streets for the unpermitted rallies could be arrested. At least one person was arrested.

The gathering was hyped on social media and elsewhere for weeks. In the days leading up the event Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said people who espoused hate or engaged in violence were “not welcome.”

In a Saturday morning tweet, President Donald Trump wrote “Portland is being watched very closely” and that “Hopefully the Mayor will be able to properly do his job.”

He also wrote that “major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an ‘ORGANIZATION of TERROR.’”

ALSO READ: Patriot Prayer’s Joey Gibson arrested ahead of planned rally

But it wasn’t immediately clear what he meant by that as there’s no mechanism for the United States government to declare a domestic organization a terror group. The State Department maintains a list of designated foreign terrorist organizations, such as al Qaida, but there’s no comparable designation or list for American groups.

Wheeler responded to the president’s tweet in an interview with CNN, saying, “frankly, it’s not helpful.” Wheeler added: “This is a potentially dangerous and volatile situation, and adding to that noise doesn’t do anything to support or help the efforts that are going on here in Portland.”

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa. Also on hand were people dressed in colorful outfits and those who attended a nearby prayer service, holding signs that said things such as “No Trump, No NRA.”

Self-described anti-fascists had vowed to confront the rally while leaders from the far right urged their followers to turn out in large numbers to protest the arrests of six members of right-wing groups in the run-up to the event.

Patriot Prayer’s Joey Gibson, who organized similar rallies in 2017 and 2018 that erupted in clashes, surrendered Friday on an arrest warrant for felony rioting. He was at a confrontation that broke out on May 1 outside a bar where antifa members had gathered after a May Day demonstration.

In a video he livestreamed on Facebook, Gibson accused the police of playing politics by arresting him but not the masked demonstrators who beat up conservative blogger Andy Ngo at a June 29 rally that drew national attention.

A video of that attack went viral and led the Proud Boys, who have been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, to organize Saturday’s event.

“They want you to not show up in Portland, they want to put fear in your hearts,” Gibson said.

Portland Police Bureau spokeswoman Tina Jones declined to comment about specific arrests but said generally police continue to investigate several incidents from clashes on May 1 and June 29 and are politically neutral.

Antifa members often cover their faces with masks, making it harder to identify them.

In addition to the Proud Boys and Three Percenters, the white nationalist American Guard also said it would have members in Portland.

The Oath Keepers, another far-right militia group, said in a statement they were pulling out of the rally because organizers have not done enough to keep white supremacist groups away.

“It would be best for the patriot/conservative cause if this August 17 rally were simply cancelled,” the group’s founder, Stewart Rhodes, wrote.

Authorities asked residents not to call 911 unless it’s a life-threatening emergency and to stay away from the heart of downtown.

Gillian Flaccus, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RDKB urges caution when reading into early snowpack reports

Staff say it’s too early in the season to have a strong handle on water flow projections

Treading snowy trails across the Boundary

Before the rain came this week, trails in the Boundary were well-travelled

Province looking at steps to dissolve Jumbo resort municipality

Disincorporating municipality will likely require a legislative change, according to the province

Grand Forks community centre open house set for Jan. 23 at the aquatic centre

Designers and the development committee will be at the aquatic centre from 4 to 7 p.m. on Jan. 23

VIDEO: Rare ‘ice circle’ spotted on Kamloops river

An ice circle or ice pan, has formed in the chilly waters just east of the Yellowhead Bridge

Uber, Lyft approved for ride-hailing in Lower Mainland

Kater Technologies Inc.’s application was rejected

B.C. man rescued after getting trapped headfirst in well as water level rose

The rescue involved crews from Oak Bay and Saanich

Investigators in wildfire-torn Australia head to site of B.C. airtanker crash

The B.C. government sends condolences to Port Alberni-owned Coulson Aviation

RCMP investigating sexual allegation against Lower Mainland police officer

Delta officer suspended while the alleged off-duty incident involving a co-worker is investigated

Former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse in B.C. granted day parole

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s

VIDEO: Person in wheelchair narrowly avoids collision with car in Kelowna

There were no injuries in the scary looking near-accident last week in Rutland

Here’s what Canada is doing to stop the coronavirus from getting in

Health officials are monitoring multiple possible cases in Canada

Interior Health issues drug alert in Kamloops

Testing of two samples of drugs sold as crystal meth was positive for fentanyl

Most Read