The left-wing media tried its best to portray a Patriot Prayer rally in Portland, Oregon, over the weekend as a violent group of racists who were confronted by a justified Antifa counter-protest.
The Daily Beast led with this in its coverage:
Hundreds of armed supporters of President Donald Trump, led by a fringe Republican congressional candidate, marched on Saturday, leaving blood from scattered street fights in their wake.
Ostensibly a campaign event for long-shot U.S. Senate hopeful Joey Gibson, members of his group Patriot Prayer urged the president to lock up his political opponents, including Hillary Clinton and promised violent retribution for anyone who threatened their right to “free speech” or armed self-defense.
Groups of Trump supporters swarmed through the streets, singling out people of color to fight, some of whom appeared to belong to small vigilante squads of local anti-fascists, as well as others who appeared to be mere passersby.
The Daily Beast cited the left-wing, discredited Southern Poverty Law Center as warning that the rally could be “another Charlottesville,” referring to the August 12, 2017 protest over the removal of a Confederate soldier statue — including some white supremacists — in a park in that city that ended tragically when two law enforcement officers and a woman were killed in the violence that erupted after Antifa staged a counter-protest.
The Huffington Post in its reporting blamed the police for keeping the Patriot Prayer protesters separated from Antifa counter-protesters.
Police did a good job on Saturday preventing what could have been the most violent far-right rally since last year’s deadly “Unite the Right” gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia — all they had to do was protect the proto-fascists who came to town, and use riot control weapons, flash-bang grenades and chemical irritants against anti-fascist counter-protesters.
For hours, dozens of officers in full riot gear stood across a closed section of Naito Parkway along the Willamette River, keeping the two sides apart. On one side of the parkway, in Tom McCall Waterfront Park, stood hundreds of out-of-towners belonging to the Proud Boys — a punch-drunk far-right group of self-described “Western chauvinists” dressed in helmets and body armor — and those aligned with Patriot Prayer and its leader Joey Gibson, a Republican Senate candidate from Washington state who has held a series of increasingly violent rallies in the Pacific Northwest since 2017.
Patriot Prayer and its leader Joey Gibson, a Republican Senate candidate from Washington state who has held a series of increasingly violent rallies in the Pacific Northwest since 2017.
“Police launched a violent attack on the left that was unprovoked in an attempt to allow Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys to go on their march,” Effie Baum, spokesperson for Popular Mobilization, a coalition of “anti-racist and anti-fascist groups, said in the Post’s report.
“We expected state repression,” Baum said.
Officers have contacted multiple people in possession of items that could be used as weapons (i.e., flag poles, homemade shields, etc.) These items may be confiscated by officers. Do not bring items that could be used as weapons to the demonstrations or counterdemonstrations.
— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) August 4, 2018
The Portland Police Bureau’s report, however, said the only four arrests made over the course of the eight-hour rally and counter-protest were from the Antifa crowd.
— 27-year-old Robert J Majure was arrested near Southwest Naito Parkway and Southwest Columbia Street on charges of Harassment and Resist Arrest.
— 45-year-old Tracy L Molina was arrested near Southwest 2nd Avenue and Southwest Columbia Street on charges of Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree and Attempt Assault on a Public Safety Officer.
— 28-year-old Tristan I Rominemann was arrested near Southwest Naito Parkway and Southwest Columbia Street on charges of Interfering with a Police Officer and Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree, and Harassment.
— 34-year-old Joseph C Evans was arrested near Southwest 2nd Avenue and Southwest Jefferson Street on charges of Recklessly Endangering Another Person and Unlawful Use of a Weapon.
The report also said:
Officers located and seized multiple weapons throughout the day. The groups involved in the protests escalated in behavior and threw projectiles, including rocks, smoke bombs, firework mortars, unknown chemical agents, bottles, items from a slingshot, and other projectiles at officers and protesters.
When officers arrived in the area of Southwest Naito Parkway and Southwest Columbia Boulevard, they learned multiple police vehicles, possibly with officers inside the vehicles, were trapped in a group of protesters who were throwing an unknown chemical agent as well as other projectiles at officers. Officers provided directions to the protesters using the sound truck, as well as deployed riot control agents and less lethal impact weapons. The officers located three damaged police vehicles after the crowd moved from the vehicles. There were no officers inside the vehicles.
“The Portland Police Bureau is, and will always be, committed to providing a safe environment for all individuals to exercise their First Amendments rights in a peaceful manner,” said Chief Danielle Outlaw. “Unfortunately, today, some people chose to commit illegal acts of violence, which required members of the Police Bureau to take action in order to keep all participants and non-participants safe. This was a dangerous situation for all those involved, including officers, and I am disheartened that this kind of illegal behavior occurred in our beautiful city.”
— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) August 5, 2018
As for the Patriot Prayer rally itself, the diverse group hoisted American flags, wore Trump-supporting garb and gave speeches about freedom and Second Amendment rights.
Gibson, the much-maligned founder of Patriot Prayer, told CBS affiliate KOIN6 the police did a good job.
“They decided to enforce the law – I saw people actually get arrested today —- I don’t know how many — so that’s really good,” Gibson said.
“I think the people that came out here for the Patriot Prayer rally were some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met,” Shroyer said. “The nicest people I’ve ever met.”
“It’s sad that the media depicts this group of people as racists, Nazis, bigots — these are the most tolerant people ever,” Shroyer said. “Don’t listen to the fake news that says these people are racists.”
“It’s all fake news people,” Shroyer said.
“We’re bringing freedom back to the West Coast,” Gibson said.
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