Portland rally, counter protests draw thousands

Bruno Cirelli
Giugno 5, 2017

Hundreds of pro-Trump protesters and counter-protesters have gathered in downtown Portland on Sunday.

"We don't want any fighting", said Margie Fletcher, the mother of a man wounded last week on a Portland train.

"Protesters should stay with their groups, not attempt to cross streets to escalate tensions", the police said in their tweet.

Police working to keep all groups separated. Officers say future arrests may happen.

Several journalists at the scene said they were blocked in, along with demonstrators, and were told by officers that they were detained pending investigation for disorderly conduct. So far, the event has remained peaceful but at least one arrest has been made after a man, allegedly an anti-fascist or Antifa protester, was reportedly seen pushing another protester in front of police. Everyone else was eventually released after officers took photographs of their identification.

The organizers of the "Trump free-speech" rally said the event was created to be "an uplifting experience to bring back strength and courage to those who believe in freedom".

Trump rally organizers also rebuffed Wheeler's pleas to cancel their demonstration, leading several opposition groups to issue calls on social media for counter-protests and setting the stage for a possible confrontation.

A few minutes later, Gibson said he and other protestors were there to "bring logic back into Portland. and to show Portland and the rest of the West Coast how to be correct, not politically correct".

Mayor Ted Wheeler had asked the federal government to revoke permits for two right-wing "free speech" events, including Sunday's Trump Free Speech Rally, in the wake of the murders.

Joey Gibson, an activist with the pro-Trump group Patriot Prayer, told local media he had arranged for private security to accompany his supporters. He described Christian as "all crazy" and "not a good guy".

"We build our hope and our stamina for justice by showing up", Rev. Diane Dulin of the United Church of Christ said in a statement ahead of the rally.

The Trump Free Speech Rally, at Schrunk Plaza, 2 p.m.

Associated Press Writers Phuong Le in Seattle and Manuel Valdes in Portland contributed to this report. Police said protestors had thrown items at officers.

PORTLAND, Ore. - Riot police braced for unrest in downtown Portland on Sunday as supporters and opponents of President Donald Trump faced off in dueling political rallies following racially charged killings that shook Oregon's largest city. The victims were standing up to hate and intolerance. Crowds have swelled to several thousand as demonstrators from varying groups have converged in downtown Portland.

A conservative protester (R) walks past a group of anti-fascist during competing demonstrations in Portland, Oregon, U.S. June 4, 2017.

Police say 14 people have been arrested and a number of weapons seized following a day of demonstrations and counter protests in downtown Portland.

Around 3:30 p.m., about three hours after the progressive rallies began, police announced that they were closing Chapman Square due to suspected criminal activity. Christian, the man accused of stabbing two commuters to death who tried to stop him from hurling anti-Muslim insults at young women on a light-rail train came from a stable family and was a rambunctious teenager who spiraled out of control as he entered his teenage years, according to court records and acquaintances.

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