Published: Sun, August 18, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Arrests and shields, metal poles seized at downtown Portland rallies

Arrests and shields, metal poles seized at downtown Portland rallies

Al Jazeera's Rob Reynolds reporting from Portland said that authorities plan to "smother" the rally with many police officers to keep the two sides apart and hopefully avoid any violence.

Meanwhile, black-clad, helmet and face-mask wearing anti-fascist protesters were also among the several hundred people seen on the streets.

Saturday's demonstration is attracting members of the Proud Boys, a fraternal organization that espouses some white supremacist ideology, as well as some OR and Washington militia members, and other groups - such as an IN group called The American Guard, whose president has been involved IN neo-Nazi groups.

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa.

President Donald Trump urged the Portland mayor to do his job "properly". Here's how Outlaw explained that decision this evening: "Shortly before noon, a group of demonstrators communicated to our liaisons that they wanted to leave the downtown area". Police said they had seized the weapons, including shields, from multiple groups as they assembled along the Willamette River, which runs through the city.

At the briefing, Portland Police Bureau spokesperson Lt. Tina Jones acknowledged past criticism over the bureau's handling protests.

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.

While the mayor's remark might have raised some eyebrows, Portland police chief Danielle Outlaw reported that 13 people have been arrested in connection with the turmoil, including for disorderly conduct, interfering with police, resisting arrest, possession of a weapon and unlawful use of a weapon.

A 'Banana Bloc Dance Party ' gathering is held near Battleship Oregon Memorial Marine Park on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, in downtown Portland, Ore. Others are expected to include members of the American Guard, the Three Percenters, the Oathkeepers and the Daily Stormers.

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Both a march on the Kowloon side of Victoria Harbour and a counter-rally backing the government were planned for later Saturday. The man, surnamed Lai, was arrested on suspicion of unlawful assembly and illegally imprisoning and assaulting people.

Also on hand among the hundreds gathering were people who attended a nearby prayer service, holding signs that said things like "No Trump, No NRA".

A far-right rally and leftist counter-demonstration in the city of Portland, Oregon wrapped up Saturday amid a heavy police presence with no major incidents, following fears that violent clashes would break out.

"Antifa" is a collective term for a loose affiliation of anti-fascist groups. He was at a confrontation that broke out on May 1 outside a bar where members of the so-called "antifa" movement had gathered after a May Day demonstration.

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.

"To those of you who plan on using Portland on August 17 as a platform to spread your hate, you are not welcome here", Wheeler said.

At a June rally in Portland, masked antifa members beat up a conservative blogger named Andy Ngo.

Wheeler has said any groups preaching hate or engaging in violence are not welcome in the city.

The rally is organized by Proud Boys, who are designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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