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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Weapons seized at pro-Trump rally

Bianca Turano, who said she came from LA, takes part in a demonstration near City Hall and adjacent parks in Portland, Ore. (Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP)

Police arrest 14 people and seize more than a dozen weapons as thousands of demonstrators and counter protesters converged in downtown Portland, Oregon, on Sunday.

A pro-President Donald Trump free speech rally drew several hundred to a plaza near City Hall more than a week after two Portland men were fatally stabbed trying to stop a man from shouting anti-Muslim insults at two teenage girls on a light-rail train.

That rally was met across the street by hundreds of counter-protesters organized by immigrant rights, religious and labor groups. They said they wanted to make a stand against hate and racism.

Portland police said Sunday evening that 14 people were arrested, and several dozen knives, bricks, sticks and other weapons were seized.

By late afternoon, police closed nearby Chapman Square where a separate group of protesters — many wearing masks and black clothing and identified as anti-fascists — also demonstrated. Police used flash-bang grenades and pepper balls to disperse that crowd after saying protesters were hurling bricks and other objects at officers.

The people gathered at the free speech rally organized by the conservative group Patriot Prayer and counter-protesters at City Hall were not involved in those clashes, police said.

After several dozen demonstrators began marching north of the initial rally locations, police officers moved in and blocked them. They detained a large crowd in the street, including several journalists.

People identified as participating in criminal activity would be arrested, police said. Everyone else was eventually released after officers took photographs of their identification.

Sunday’s event was organized by the group Patriot Prayer and billed as Trump Free Speech Rally in “one of the most liberal areas of the West Coast.”

Rally organizer Joey Gibson held a moment of silence for the two men who were stabbed to death and pleaded with the crowd to refrain from violence. He later told them that goal is to wake up the liberty movement. “It’s OK to be a conservative in Portland,” he said.

Last week Mayor Ted Wheeler unsuccessfully tried to have the permit for the free speech rally revoked, saying it could further enflame tensions following the May 26 stabbings.

The suspect in the light-rail stabbings, Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, attended a similar rally in late April wearing an American flag around his neck and carrying a baseball bat. Police confiscated the bat, and he was then caught on camera clashing with counter-protesters.

In a video posted on Facebook, Gibson condemned Christian and acknowledged that some rallies have attracted “legitimate Nazis.” He described Christian as “all crazy” and “not a good guy.”

Matthew Eggiman, 19, who lives in Corvallis, said he showed up Sunday to oppose bigotry and racism. He worried that that hateful rhetoric would embolden others. But he also condemned protesters who show up hoping to provoke violence.

The Rev. Diane Dulin of the United Church of Christ said in a statement ahead of the day’s events that any act of violence in the community should be met by non-violence.

“We build our hope and our stamina for justice by showing up,” said Dulin, part of a coalition of groups that organized rally to oppose hate.

Authorities say that on May 26 Christian killed two men and injured another on the light-rail train when they tried to help after he verbally abused two young women, one wearing a hijab. Christian is charged with aggravated murder and other counts.

The concerns over the Portland rally come amid a wider debate in the U.S. about the First Amendment, often in liberal cities like Portland and Berkeley, California, and on college campuses, where violent protests between far-right and far-left protesters have derailed appearances by contentious figures.


Associated Press Writers Phuong Le in Seattle and Manuel Valdes in Portland contributed to this report.


Copyright © 2017 Capitol Hill Blue

Copyright © 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

2 thoughts on “Weapons seized at pro-Trump rally”

  1. park your violence before you demonstrate. there’s no place for weapons in a peaceful protest. remember martin luther king practiced nonviolent protest. he modeled the way to act when you have a beef with the government.
    the police who photographed the identification of peaceful protesters were engaged in an unconstitutional behavior of intimidation of freedom of speech and the right of the citizens to peacefully assemble to protest. those police and their captain can be federally prosecuted for that and go to jail and be fined.
    also, when police used violent means to break up peaceful protests and forced the protestors to go one way or another or limited their right to move freely on public sidewalks and sequestered them, they were also interfering with the right to peaceably assemble. nore federal offenses.
    police need to read their constitution before pulling that kind of thing.
    as for the armed citizens, they should all have been arrested and charged with disturbing the peace, menacing and threatening, and trying to violate the civil rights of other protestors.
    there is no room for thugs and killers in protest. if you are afraid to show your face, while carrying a weapon, you are a bum and a bully.
    protesting is not always orderly, but neither should it be carried out in a dangerous manner where somebody can get hurt.
    police, remember kent state, where unarmed college students were fired upon by armed police who killed a number of peaceful protestors. that should have drawn life sentences for a number of police officers.

  2. Whenever it’s a white person, it’s always a “mentally disturbed” “bad person”. Whenever it’s a brown person, it’s always a condemnation of their entire religion and race.


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