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18 Aug, 2019 02:59

13 arrested, 6 injured after Portland protests descend into violence

13 arrested, 6 injured after Portland protests descend into violence

Police have arrested 13 people on a range of charges, including disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and unlawful use of a weapon, after right-wing demonstrators squared off with Antifa counter-protesters in Portland, Oregon.

Speaking at a press conference in the wake of the protests in Portland, which were marred by sporadic incidents of violence, city mayor Ted Wheeler hailed police for doing “an exemplary job of de-escalating the situation.” He described the demonstration as a “largely peaceful event” despite the emergence of multiple videos documenting attacks mostly by Antifa on right-wing demonstrators. 

In one particularly violent episode, a gang of masked protesters viciously attacked two buses carrying right-wing activists, pelting the vehicles with rocks, throwing a hammer, and attempting to force their way onto one of the buses by smashing its doors.

Conflicting reports and additional video suggest that the hammer may have been taken from a right-wing demonstrator during the skirmish.

Footage shows the door of the bus opening, with a right-wing protester swinging a hammer at Antifa members who had swarmed around the entrance of the vehicle.

While the mayor’s remark may have raised some eyebrows, Portland police chief Danielle Outlaw reported that 13 people were arrested in connection with the turmoil, on charges including disorderly conduct, interfering with police, resisting arrest, possession of a weapon, and unlawful use of a weapon.

Also on rt.com VIDEOS show Antifa attacking bus, cornering right-wing protesters as Portland rally turns violent

In run-up to the showdown, police seized a number of items from the demonstrators that, if used, might have caused serious trauma. These included knives, metal and wooden poles, a stun gun, as well as bear spray.

A total of six people suffered injuries in the scuffles, and one had to be transported to hospital. The seventh person was treated for unrelated medical issues, Outlaw said.

Speaking at the press conference, Wheeler took aim specifically at the right-wing violence, accusing pro-Trump activist Joey Gibson, the founder of the right-wing Patriot Prayer group, of “misusing public taxpayer resources” by turning up at the rallies and inciting unrest with his presence.

“We are now confronting the reality that in the United States we have a rising white nationalist movement based on white supremacy in this country, and it is impacting the entire nation, and we are certainly seeing it playing out in the streets in Portland.”

While expressing concern over the supposed dangers presented by surging right-wing sentiment, Wheeler failed to mention the reported instances of left-wing violence at the Portland rally, choosing to focus exclusively on the perils of white nationalism.

“So we need to confront this reality – the reality is a growing white nationalist movement and white supremacy in the United States.”

Ahead of the rally, US President Donald Trump called on Wheeler to “properly do his job,” adding that his handling of the events would be “watched very closely.” Trump also joined the Republican-led push to formally designate Antifa an “organization of terror.” However, this is impossible under the applicable US law at present, as this permits only foreign organizations to be designated as such.

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