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No one living in Northeast Portland wanted the Proud Boys, their affiliates, and Antifa to use their backyards as a battleground, but the groups did on Aug. 22, 2021. These fascists have disturbed the peace far too long from their antagonistic so-called weekly flag waves to organized rallies; the level of violence grows with each encounter against equally volatile anti-fascists.
Each side came prepared to fight, many of them wearing body armor, helmets, eye protection, fully stocked utility belts, and guns — paintball and airsoft are typically used. But handguns and long guns are not far from the Proud Boys’ reach.
The Proud Boys and affiliates’ August 22 rally “Summer of Love: United We Stand Divided We Fall” was an anniversary of sorts. A year ago, pro-Trump demonstrators spent hours fighting with anti-fascists in front of Multnomah County Justice Center downtown; this year’s summer of love was supposed to be held there.
However, the Proud Boys moved the rally’s location to Northwest Portland, just across the river from their intended opponents. In a boarded-up Kmart parking lot on 122nd and Sandy Boulevard, the right-wing extremists erected a stage with a huge American flag as a backdrop. Hanging from the building’s facade was a hand-painted sign reading “free our political prisoners.”
During the rally, several speakers referenced the individuals arrested for their part in the January 6th insurrection as political prisoners. They, like all of former President Trump’s ardent loyalists, believe that he, not duly elected President Joe Biden, is the rightful resident of the White House.
Gabby Urenda posted a photo on Twitter depicting neighborhood folk holding signs and standing between the opposing groups. The visible sign reads: “GO HOME PROUD BOYS.”
Rev. Dr. Chuck Currie tweeted: “A number of people here at the Proud Boys rally have asked why I’m not joining in. That’s easy: I’m a Christian. And the Proud Boys are not followers of Jesus.”
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell warned that police would not intervene in weekend skirmishes that resulted from the planned gatherings. Unfortunately, doing so gave the Proud Boys, their affiliates, and Antifa pretty much free reign on violent behavior.
Unfortunately, when Wheeler said, “We are asking you to choose love,” he was not joking. He further stated that Portlanders are not likely to see the police standing in the middle of a crowd trying to separate the opposing sides.
Emily G. posted this tweet:
In solidarity today with the people of Portland, who once again find themselves under assault by the dual threat of non-state fascists and the police, both of whom are enabled by incompetent governance.
Audrey Eschright wrote:
It’s pretty amazing living in a place where our community safety strategy is for people to stay locked up in their homes while an armed gang roams around, with the promise that police may decide to arrest some of them later.
Based on live reports from local news people, even as the violence rose, there were no police in sight. Fortunately, there is extensive film footage of the Proud Boys demolishing a van that tried to enter the Kmart parking lot. About a dozen men heaved the vehicle onto its side. Another documented incident showed Proud Boys or their buddies ferociously beating a man inside the cab of his truck before dragging him out, destroying the windows, and slashing the tires.
About 40 minutes after the chaotic scenes in Northwest Portland quieted down, a man standing behind a garbage can downtown fired a round at anti-fascists. At least one person fired back at him at least six times.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Portland-Tribune: Proud Boys, antifa violently clash on 122nd in East Portland; by Zane Sparling
Willamette Week: East Portland Proud Boys Rally Devolves Into Street Violence With No Police in Sight; by Tess Riski
Willamette Week: Downtown Shootout Follows Sunday’s Dueling Demonstrations; by Suzette Smith and Justin Yau
OPB: Gunfire erupts after Proud Boys and anti-fascists openly brawl in Portland without police intervention; by Ryan Haas and Jonathon Levinson
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Anthony Crider’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License