Filed under: Anti-fascist, Editorials, Featured, Northwest, Police, Repression
Report from PopMob in Portland on Saturday’s recent mass defense of the city against a violent far-Right rally.
This Monday will mark three months of Portlanders showing up night after night in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement – calling for abolition of the police in Portland and across the country. These remarkably sustained protests have drawn an incredibly diverse array of Portlanders attending: youth, moms, veterans, doctors, community organizers, Black, Brown and queer people from all walks of life. Even for a city known for its rebellious spirit – its willingness to take to the streets, the last three months have been unlike anything previously seen here. The country has taken notice. The world has been watching. And Portland has certainly captured the attention of the far-right, who find themselves frustrated by the impact that these uprisings have had on public awareness of racism and police violence.
Today, out of town Proud Boys, MAGA + Qanon supporters, neo-Nazis + militia members rallied at an event organized by a far-Right organizer from the bay area. They also pepper-sprayed someone in a wheelchair, pulled out guns + menaced a parking garage. A thread. pic.twitter.com/9eRXgVklq5
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) August 23, 2020
Saturday (08/22/2020) far-right factions descended on Portland. As usual many of these individuals came from out of town. And they came dead set on violence. Threats have pervaded the darker corners of the Internet since the start of the protests (and long before) but ramped up significantly since the plans for this rally were announced. Proud Boys, Patriot Prayer members, MAGA sycophants, white nationalists, and other far-right actors showed up to lash out and try to challenge the momentum we have been building.
Saturday featured a whirlwind of violence from well-known characters. Former Proud Boy Alan Swinney pointed a gun at a crowd of protesters. He maced individuals indiscriminately. He threatened members of the press. Another member of the far-right rally broke Robert Evans’ finger; Evens is a journalist who was filming the violence being carried out by the right-wing ralliers. Another member of the press was attacked with a wooden club and punched / stomped.
This all happened as Portland Police (PPB) did nothing. They continued to let violent far-right characters like Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, Alan Swinney, Cole Scott, David Willis, and so many others attack Portlanders with complete impunity; and it became increasingly obvious as the day wore on that the right-wing agitators were basing their brutality on the standard set nightly by the PPB. This is to be expected from groups and individuals with a long history of attacking protesters, media, medics, and other community members. But the level of collaboration today, even for those well-versed in PPB’s affinity for collaborating with these factions, was stunningly blatant.
Organizer of today's violent far-Right rally in #Portland that lives in the bay area claims it was a victory for anti-racists. Originally they had stated over 500 people would attended. Currently lots of online infighting going on as the organizers cry about today's failure. https://t.co/Ju97eyZlNd
— It's Going Down (@IGD_News) August 23, 2020
Cops confiscated defensive shields from leftists while having casual chats with flag-waving “patriots”. They declared an unlawful assembly against Black Lives Matter protesters while letting Proud Boys brandish weapons and bear-mace large crowds with no intervention whatsoever.
They call us violent. They call us domestic terrorists
But it is invariably the far-right breeding mass shooters, Trimet killers, and incels firing guns indiscriminately
Another report of live fire from from some MAGA chudhttps://t.co/vJGdeclVtr
— PopMob (Popular Mobilization) (@PopMobPDX) August 22, 2020
Portland Police justified their hands off approach by citing a lack of resources. It was an astonishing statement given that they have found the resources to gas BLM protesters night after night. PPB has resources to spare when it comes to brutalizing leftist demonstrations in residential neighborhoods across the city, but apparently none when it involves far-right factions who they have collaborated with in the past.
BLM protest tonight: 14 arrests. Riot declared. 40-50 officers involved.
Conservative rally today: 0 arrests. No riot or unlawful assembly declared. Only 30 officers available. pic.twitter.com/JsiEKwxzfb
— Sergio Olmos (@MrOlmos) August 23, 2020
Despite the tactics of these violent intruders and of the Portland Police Bureau, community members rallied together to repel this white supremacy, this bigotry, this hate, this violence. When we are united in our resistance we are strong. We bring banners, mutual aid, community defense, and a vision for a just and equitable future. When we support each other and rise up against those who threaten our values, we prevail. Today we forced these instigators to retreat and we will refocus on our fundamental goals – a world beyond policing, one where we support each other, one where we build something better, one where we keep us safe.
Black Lives Matter! Abolish the police!
– Robert Evans being attacked
– Swinney points gun at protesters
– PPB collaboration with Joey Gibson regarding Tiny’s arrest warrant
– cops confiscate shields from leftists, let fash have free rein
– fash retreat
– PPB statement