Portland, OR - Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced a newly proposed city ordinance on Monday that would allow the police commissioner to tell protesters when, how, and where to protest.
Mayor Wheeler is the Portland police commissioner.
The announcement comes following a history of violent street brawls between antifa and Patriot Prayer.
Antifa is an authoritarian fringe-left group of people who generally aren't centrally organized. However Portland is home to Rose City Antifa which is a centrally organized group.
Antifa has a history of declaring anybody outside of the far left to be a "fascist" and they believe that violence against fascists is justified as pre-emptive self defense.
Patriot Prayer is a far-right group who exist primarily to antagonize antifa. They organize right-wing rallies with the intent to provoke antifa to react violently to their presence. Patriot Prayer can then respond to attacks with violence justified as self-defense and then point to antifa as the start of the violence.
Antifa are largely unaware or in denial that they are being manipulated by Patriot Prayer.
Local reporter Mike Bivins captured video of a fight between the two groups which broke out at a Patriot Prayer rally over the weekend:
Patriot Prayer members have been bringing guns to rallies, and many believe it's inevitable that one day they will use firearms in response to an attack from antifa.
While announcing the new ordinance on Monday, Mayor Wheeler stated that police had located Patriot-Prayer-Aligned people with a cache of weapons on a rooftop overlooking a rally on Aug. 4. Police responded by taking possession of the weapons and returning them to their owners later.
According to the newly proposed ordinance, restrictions will be placed on protests in the following situations:
- Two or more groups plan to demonstrate on the same day and there is a history of violence between the groups, or
- There is a threat to the safety of participants and bystanders, interference with the ability to access public property, or the disruption of public services, or
- There is a substantial likelihood of violence at the planned demonstrations based on the conduct of the group or information gathered in advance of the event.
The mayor can then place restrictions on the protesters:
- Regulating the time and length of the event.
- Directing that the demonstration and counter-demonstration be located or moved to locations that do not create a substantial risk to public safety, obstruct traffic, or interfere with previously scheduled activities.
- Restrict the location of groups to areas that do not threaten public safety.
The rules for each event are supposed to be announced in advance of the planned protests.
Anybody violating the rules created by Mayor Wheeler would be committing a misdemeanor. The mayor says that the 9th Circuit has upheld such ordinances before as constitutional.
The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned around 79% of the cases it has taken from the 9th Circuit.
It's not clear if Portland Police Bureau will actually enforce this law against antifa when Patriot Prayer isn't around, as the department refused to intervene as antifa threatened motorists one week ago.