In Portland, Alt-Right Rally Met by Counter-Protests

14 arrested at dueling rallies
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2017 1:20 AM CDT
14 Arrested at Dueling Portland Rallies
Thousands of protesters gather in Portland, Ore., Sunday, June 4, 2017, for competing rallies.   (AP Photo/Kristena Hansen)

An alt-right "free speech" rally went ahead in Portland, Ore. Sunday despite the mayor's objections—and was met with three separate counter-protests on three sides. Around 3,000 counter-protesters, including labor groups and black-clad antifascist activists, gathered while a few hundred people, many with pro-President Trump signs, converged on Terry D. Schrunk Plaza for the rally organized by the "Patriot Prayer" group, the Guardian reports. Alt-right celebrity Pat "Spartan" Washington told reporters that he was "willing to use violence to make sure my family is safe and my patriot family is safe." "God, I hate them," he said of the counter-protesters across the street. "I look over there and I just want to smash."

A wall of police officers separated the protesters and counter-protesters, though there were isolated clashes and police made at least 14 arrests, CNN reports. Police ended up using pepper balls and flash-bang grenades to disperse anti-fascist protesters, reports the AP. Mayor Ted Wheeler had urged organizers to call off the pro-Trump rally after the fatal stabbing of two men on a train last month. The suspect, Jeremy Christian, had attended a similar rally in the city in April. At the free-speech rally, speakers distanced themselves from Christian and called the train victims heroes, the Oregonian reports. "Mayor Wheeler says I spit out hate speech," organizer Joey Gibson told the crowd. "We've got to prove them wrong." (More Portland, Oregon stories.)

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