Portland braces as Proud Boys converge in defiance

Tribune Content Agency

Right-wing militants, some in helmets and body armor, began converging on Portland, Ore., on Saturday for a rally expected to attract thousands of pro-Trump, “law-and-order” protesters.

Oregon declared a state of emergency Friday out of worry that groups of so-called “Proud Boys” would clash with Black Lives Matter and other demonstrators. Many on Twitter cast it as a showdown between antifa, the loosely configured left-wing movement, and the Proud Boys.

Hundreds linked to Proud Boys have gathered in the city, the Oregonian reported, with some carrying guns, baseball bats, magazine clips, knives and batons. Two arrests had been made as of noon local time, and a shield was confiscated.

“Officers will be looking out for other dangerous items being brought to the events,” said Chris Liedle, spokesman for the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, said on behalf of the state’s unified command. “Law enforcement officers are conducting high visibility patrols and monitoring the events closely.”

Oregon State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton said a “massive influx” of troopers would work to keep the groups apart. The protest comes a month after Aaron Danielson, a man affiliated with a white power group, was killed by an anti-fascist protester during a similar confrontation.

Gov. Kate Brown said Friday she expected a significant crowd, many from out of state, and some armed. “The pattern of these particular groups is clear: to intimidate, instigate and inflame,” she said. “And these types of demonstrations in the past have often ended in fist fights and sometimes escalated to bloodshed.”

Law enforcement officials said tear gas would be used if needed, amid controversy over its deployment to disperse crowds.


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