Portland: Antifascists vs Alt Right
On June 4th, 2017, what was started as protests to a ‘“Trump Free Speech Rally” by Anti-fascist and countered by members of the Alt-Right, turned into mobile direct actions, arguments, a police standoff and a march. The area where the anti-fascist protests were held earlier that day, in front of City Hall, began being closed off by police when loud explosives were thrown toward the area. “It’s unclear whether they were [the] concussion or tear gas grenades, but there was a yellow smoke emanating from some of them. At least five explosions were heard as police pushed people back from that square. Portland police said the explosives were in response to projectiles thrown at its officers. ” reported HuffPost Black Voices. Many of the protesters and others began an impromptu march into the streets from City Hall. They were met in Downtown Portland with a standoff from police where some were arrested and many were shoved back with batons. Some protestors hid in a nearby parking garage but were still met with nonlethal rounds from the officers on duty. Following quickly after, a chemical was released at the spot police were firing causing pain and burning to the noses and lungs of those nearby. A tweet from the Portland police department states “Unknown substance making people cough in the area of S[outh] W[est] 4th [street] and Morrison. Not deployed by police – possibly from parking garage” ended the confusion of whether the police attacked protesters with chemical weapons. The Twitter account created a twitter thread on the events of the day with mostly updates on possible arrests, unidentified suspects, and locations of ‘criminal activity’. One tweet even included pictures of weapons seized from the demonstrations while another included pictures of unidentifiable people on top of a building where bricks were seized as possible weapons used. While the major crowds from each side dispersed by early evening, many don’t believe the battle is over or new. Portland is the same city two people were murdered by a well know white supremacist on May 26th, 2017 for defending teenagers being harassed that left America livid. The planned Alt-Right demonstration was expected to attract neo-nazis and white nationalists from out of state before the event even happened. Local residents apparently aren’t surprised by the demonstrations or the tragic murders as Portland is said to have a “White terror crisis” within the community and a rumored racists history.