Portland, OR – The Portland mayor declared a victory and labeled brawls all over the city “largely a peaceful event” after thirteen people were arrested and at least six people were injured during clashes between antifa and anti-antifa groups all over the city on Saturday.
An estimated 1,000 people were expected to attend the “End Domestic Terrorism” event, which started at Tom McCall Waterfront Park at 11 a.m., but police said that about 1,200 demonstrators and counter-protesters showed up, The Oregonian reported.
Hundreds of antifa activists were estimated to be in attendance.
The patriot event was spearheaded by former InfoWars employee Joe Biggs, with the support of Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio, according to The Oregonian.
Biggs previously posted that over 1,000 men including “ex special forces military groups, Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and Titans of Liberty” would make their way to the city for the event, The Oregonian reported.
An ADL-designated white supremacist group, American Guard, were reportedly planning to attend as well.
The Oath Keepers later announced that they would not be attending the rally because they were concerned that Biggs had not done enough to keep white supremacist groups from showing up, USA Today reported.
In response, Rose City Antifa called on supporters to come “to defend Portland against far-Right attack” and “tell these far-Right and neo-Nazi groups that they are not welcome in Portland, and their search for victims on our streets will not be tolerated.’’
Police said there were 1,200 police officers from 15 different agencies on hand to try to prevent the violence that has occurred between antifa and other groups at numerous earlier demonstrations, The Oregonian reported.
Video taken at the event showed antifa heckling officers who stood in out in the August heat in full riot gear.
Protesters called a black police officer a “race traitor” and an “Uncle Tom” as he silently stood guard on a sidewalk.
Initially, police kept the separate groups away from each other on opposite ends of Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson, fresh out of jail after being charged with felony rioting for a May event, was among the group of anti-antifa who were waving flags on the east side of the Willamette River, KOIN reported.
But law enforcement couldn’t keep the peace for long as smaller groups split up into what The Oregonian described as “a roving game of cat-and-mouse as packs of political rivals crisscrossed bridges above the Willamette River and police scrambled to keep them apart.”
Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw told reporters at a press conference on Saturday night that officers took a variety of weapons away from protesters throughout the day including bear spray, chemical spray, shields, knives, metal and wooden poles, and a stun gun.
Ninety minutes into the fracas, a group of Proud Boys and their supporters were escorted across the Hawthorne Bridge by police who prevented antifa from following them, The Oregonian reported.
The bridge had been closed earlier in the day and counter-protesters complained Portland police were showing favoritism to the Proud Boys but officials said that was not what happened.
"It wasn’t planned. It wasn’t orchestrated,” Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Sergeant Brandon White told The Oregonian. “We had a request that they would like to leave the area and so we facilitated.”
Police later allowed antifa across the bridge but the anti-antifa groups had largely left.
Antifa members continued to roam the streets of the city looking for people from the other side to attack.
At one point, another video showed a group of antifa chased a costumed man known as "Based Spartan" and his little girl several blocks, and up an exit ramp against oncoming traffic.
In another video, screaming, masked antifa surrounded and confronted a construction worker who was trying to work in front of an active building site and tried to determine what side he was on.
Other counter-protesters pulled them away and tried to set them straight.
"He's just a construction worker guys, chill the f--k out," one antifa told the others.
There was an ugly clash when black-masked antifa attacked a bus full of people wearing American Guard shirts who were trying to leave the protests, The Oregonian reported.
Protesters hurled mayonnaise at the bus and sprayed something into it through smashed windows.
A controversial video of the incident showed a large group of antifa attacking the bus and someone inside trying to fend them off with a hammer.
The hammer was quickly taken away by an antifa counter-demonstrator who went back after the people inside the bus.
The incident sparked claims of self-defense from both sides.
Police declared a “civil disturbance” and moved to clear the streets at about 4 p.m. after fistfights broke out between antifa and anti-antifa groups near Pioneer Courthouse Square, KOIN reported.
The officers then left without clearing the area.
The mayor declared a victory at a press conference
“Given the continuing movement and the number of people involved, I’m grateful this was largely a peaceful event,” Wheeler said. “Police did an exemplary job of de-escalating the situation, keeping the extremist on both sides separated for the most part, and preventing people who wanted to engage in acts of violence from confronting each other.”
But video from the brouhahas all over the city showed that the mayor’s characterization of the day may have been made through rose-colored glasses.
There were no police in sight as a large group of antifa chased a man wearing a Pepe pin who was walking his bike down the sidewalk.
Several other men walking in the area were suddenly attacked by antifa after their initial target fled on his bike, and within seconds, video showed an antifa was swinging a skateboard at one of the men’s heads.
In another incident, when officers tried to arrest a masked protester, other antifa tried to protect him.
A chase went on for several blocks before officers took the man into custody and a line of officers with a loudspeaker ordered protesters to stop interfering with police actions or face consequences.
In another video, a black masked antifa wearing helmet ripped a small American flag from the hands of a senior citizen who had already been doused with a milkshake.
Chief Outlaw commended the officers’ “level of professionalism” throughout the day.
“We spend several weeks preparing for today’s events,” the chief said. “And we are grateful for everyone who stayed focused on the mission without regard to politics or ideologies. Our law enforcement personnel are human beings, and today was a long and arduous day. It’s not over for them and I commend their continued commitment, dedication, and professionalism. I’m proud of the work that was done today and appreciate of the level of professionalism that was demonstrated by our officers and all of our partners.