Protests in Portland turned violent Sunday as demonstrations heated up between opposing sides. The rallies drew hundreds of people to a pair of parks near City Hall, according to Oregon Live, including black-clad antifascists, better known as “antifa,” and right-wing anti-protesters in “Make America Great Again” hats.
“We will not allow racists and fascists to parade through Portland’s streets, threatening activists and targeting at-risk communities,” wrote the organizers for the counter-protest, which include Rose City Antifa, a prominent antifascist group in Portland.
The event aims to draw attention to the Portland Police Bureau’s response to last year’s demonstrations, where the the chaos on June 4, 2017, was escalated by Portland police, which corralled and detained hundreds of demonstrators by using a controversial tactic known as “kettling.”
Afterward this years’ demonstration, left-leaning activists plan to spill across the street to Terry Schrunk Plaza in anticipation of members of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer, who have planned a 5 p.m. follow-up to its Trump rally last June, according to Oregon Live.
The protests were planned almost exactly one year to the date after thousands engaged in opposing rallies following a fatal stabbing on a TriMet MAX train, according to KGW 8. Thousands of people had convened to protest a pro-President Donald Trump rally thrown shortly after the racially motivated attack.
Although the protests once again turned violent, the intentions were to keep the demonstration peaceful, according to Jenny Nickolaus, an organizer with Direct Action Alliance and Empower Portland.
“We’re coming with a peaceful message,” said Nickolaus told Oregon Live.
Violence has now erupted, as documented by many Twitter users attending the protests. Videos have been posted showing several fights breaking out among protesters, with one bloodied man being dragged away while flipping off another man.
He was seen yelling at a group of protesters, telling them to “go back to California” and accusing them of being “privileged little brats.”
The bloodied man was eventually restrained and led away by police to the Justice Center in zip ties shortly after the scuffle broke out.
Several more fights broke out between protesters, with one Twitter user posting updates with videos and pictures of the scene. Jim Ryan shared numerous videos showing protesters clashing violently as police started to intervene.
Check out some of the videos below as the scene unfolds:
Officers in riot gear continued to try to separate scuffles and maintained a heavy presence throughout the rally, at one point deploying pepperspray.
Ryan, who has continued to update his Twitter, mentioned “tasting pepper spray or some sort of gas” in the air. He posted two more videos involving Tusitala Toese, who goes by the name Tiny, passionately speaking to the crowd and fighting with other protesters.
Toese, who is 6-foot-3 and more than 300 pounds, has regularly brawled with antifascist activists at rallies and was arrested twice by police in Portland last year during protests, according to Oregon Live.
More videos of the sporadic violence as it continues to escalate during the rally, including somebody throwing a milk jug at the crowd:
This is a developing story. Heavy will update as more information is known.