I was honored to march with Jim Moody, an 85ish lifelong activist. We left the counter-protest a little before 2 and I walked him back to his car. At that point, the counter-protesters were primarily chanting and there was a fine contingent of black-clad Antifa who were obviously relishing the idea of physical confrontation with the Alt-Right and Nazis (not that I blame them in the least, although I think Non-Violent Direct Action is way more effective).
Portland Police were keeping each side separated by Naito Parkway. At one point, an Alt-Right guy had worked his way into our side of the street and Antifa was kind enough to eject him out onto Naito so he could scurry back to his small swarm of assholes. He was obviously trying to start a physical confrontation and I thought Antifa did an excellent job of responding by just ejecting his sorry ass.
As Jim and I left, we encountered some PoPo blocking the streets a couple of blocks away and we thanked them for their restraint. An officer responded that we should probably turn left instead of going straight, because there were about to be a lot of people running as fast as they could. Ooooh, really?
Jim and I stopped for a while and waited to see what would happen, but nothing came of it so we continued to where he was parked.
My impression was that in the overall organizing of the police response, the PoPo leadership was trying to prevent violence. I am also very much aware that there are some seriously bad actors amongst Portland Police that need to get weeded out.
Both the Oregonian and KGW8 report that the PoPo used flash-bang grenades on the counter-protesters (our side) and that the “Patriot Prayer” folks were cheering the cops on. KGW8 is saying that police reports by individual officers claimed they were surrounded and feeling threatened by counter-protestors, but that turned out to be three unoccupied police cars were surrounded by us.
I cannot speak to a counter-protester’s injuries by a police flash-bang grenade, but the fact that it wasn’t reported to any hospitals or clinics and that there were medics all around us who were there to tend to the wounded who didn’t report anything, makes me suspicious of the report. Usually if there are any police-inflicted injuries it is widely reported by multiple people, but this report is by a single person and then picked up by the Huffington Post. I am NOT saying it didn’t happen, but there haven’t so far been other folks coming forward and verifying the story.
IMHO, the biggest problem with Portland Police is some bad cops who are protected by a union president that is dedicated to the status quo. My impression is that Chief Outlaw really does want to clean up the force and return community control, but there are a lot of things getting in her way, such as Daryl Turner, the police union president.
Not the least of which are made up stories on both sides (not saying this one about injuries from a flash-bang grenade is made up, just that is isn’t yet verified) that try to divert our attention from what needs to be done - which is root out the bad cops and keep increasing Non-Violent Direct Action against the Alt-Right and Nazis.
We should be focusing on taking the struggle to people like Joey Gibson and the rest of the Alt-Right/Nazis, publicly shaming them whenever they go out in public and preventing them from doing any more harm to individuals and our society.
Here’s a picture of Joey, just in case you encounter his sorry ass.
By Tiffany Von Arnim from Seattle (IMG_4740) [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The experts told us that proud boys and Patriot prayer were coming to town with murder and Mayhem on their minds, just like in Charlottesville. So I knew I had to resist. I marched with my friends Brian Boyce and Ron Braithwaite. It was a peaceful, sometimes joyous, counter demonstration. The only violence I saw was when a proud boy somehow made his way through the police Cordon and charged the demonstration. He was pushed away by the antifa and dragged off by the police. Here's some pics.
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Please check out "On Tyranny" by Timothy Snyder available from the shop.