Police in Portland, Oregon, revoked a permit for a pro-America march and declared the scene a riot when counter-protesters erupted in violence on Saturday.
Officers in riot gear deployed flash-bang grenades and sprayed tear gas to break up the dueling crowds as protesters launched fireworks and threw eggs, bottles and other items at each other, according to KATU in Portland.
The initial permit was secured by the Patriot Prayer group that had planned a march entitled the “Freedom and Courage” rally. But a large number of members of a local violent, black-clad Antifa group also gathered along the march route and began a series of confrontations with the marchers.
The Rose City Antifa, held a counter-rally it called the “Defend PDX: Patriot Prayer’s Violence Must End” rally. A spokesman for Rose City said, “it is very important that antifascists keep up the pressure so that we can stop them once and for all.”
The Rose City group apparently did not have a permit.
Police waded in quickly, revoked the permit, and began clearing the area of both sides once the violence began.
PORTLAND RIOT: Antifa Attacks Prayer Group… https://t.co/zbqb9ouNKM
— DRUDGE REPORT (@DRUDGE_REPORT) July 1, 2018
The rally began with the prayer group’s permitted march from Portland’s Terry Schrunk Federal Plaza. The event was organized by activist Joey Gibson, a U.S. Senate candidate for Washington and leader of Patriot Prayer.
The AntiFa group organized some distance away but not before police seized weapons such as utility knives, clubs and chemical sprays, according to The Oregonian.
Despite the confiscations, the AntiFa group initiated hostilities by throwing eggs, bottles, and other items at the Patriot group, the paper noted.
Officers reported witnessing incidents of assault and soon revoked the Patriot group’s permit and began forcing both groups to leave the area.
Antifa activists left graffiti in their wake according to Twitter users:
Graffiti in downtown Portland pic.twitter.com/x9dulq5GbH
— PDX Mike Bivins (@itsmikebivins) June 17, 2018
Wild brawl, explosions, beatings at the Patriot Prayer rally and march. pic.twitter.com/VpL7Sot3BY
— PDX Mike Bivins (@itsmikebivins) July 1, 2018
One video from the streets shows members of Antifa clearly throwing objects at the Patriot Prayer group before both sides erupt in a rumble.
Police arrested four, but the charges lodged against them were all for previous incidents and outstanding warrants. Three of the four were later released after processing.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.