Portland, OR – A Bernie Sanders supporter, who was protesting a right-wing event in Portland, said he was beaten by antifa for carrying an American flag (video below).
Paul Welch, 38, told The Oregonian that he was one of hundreds of protesters who showed up to protest the Patriot Prayer rally at Tom McCall Waterfront Park on Aug. 4.
Welch said he brought an American flag with him because he wanted to show that the flag didn’t exclusively belong to conservative activists.
"The right and certainly a lot of smaller groups like Patriot Prayer might rush to things like the flag and try to take it up as, 'This is our symbol exclusively,'" he said. "Part of my thinking was to take it back."
Welch said he got a few funny looks but didn’t have any problems when he first arrived at the demonstration. In fact, he said he saw other people on his side of the issues carrying flags, The Oregonian reported.
But at about 12:30 p.m. as the antifa crowd started marching along Southwest Salmon Street toward Naito Parkway, Welch was approached by two people who were wearing all black and had covered their faces.
He said they demanded he turn over the “fascist symbol” that was his flag and he refused, The Oregonian reported.
That’s when other protesters tried to take his flag away and the scuffle began.
Freeland journalist Mike Bivins captured the entire scene on video and shared it on his Twitter.
In the video, at least two black clad antifa were pulling on Welch, both from the front and the back, trying to take away his flag.
Then another man, who was wearing a black helmet and a black bandana over his face, repeatedly struck Welch on the rear end with some sort of weapon covered in a black cloth.
When Welch ignored the man, he stepped back, raised his hand in the air, and bashed Welch over the head with his weapon, the video showed.
Welch crumpled to the ground after the one blow, as his attacker quickly turned and walked away from the fray. Nobody attempted to stop him, the video showed.
"My bones turned to Jell-O and I just went down," Welch said.
He told The Oregonian he believed the wrapped weapon had a metal object on the end.
The video showed Welch curled up on the ground as another protester armed with a wrapped weapon approached him and poked him, and then walked away.
"I remember thinking there was a very good chance that I could be beaten to death," Welch said.
Eventually, volunteer "street medics" helped him as he lay in a pool of blood on the street.
One of them drove Welch to an urgent care center nearby where it took four staples to close the gash left on his head by his attacker’s weapon.
He told The Oregonian that he missed two days of work recovering from the concussion he’d received at the hands of people who were supposed to be on the same side as him.
Portland Police Bureau was forced to respond with crowd control weapons after people in the antifa crowd started throwing objects at them.
Welch said he was really disappointed because he’d gone to the rally to support a “liberal, free Portland” and ended up injured by antifa.
“It strikes me as the worst sort of political theater,” Welch told The Oregonian. “It’s kind of like you’re playing into your opponent’s hand when you do that sort of thing. That’s not what I was there for.”
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You can see Welch get attacked by antifa in the video below: