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In the past week, increased violence incited by far-right vigilante groups like the Proud Boys has targeted Black Lives Matter and anti-fascist activists, as well as journalists and others protesting police brutality.
Adding to their nightly stand-offs with law enforcement, a trend in recent months is taking place after mass peaceful protests against racism. These more recent violent clashes with white supremacist groups have been characteristic of polarized street violence during the Trump Era.
Last Saturday's "Say No to Marxism in America" rally saw pro-Trump violence directed not only towards counter-protesters but reporters as well, drawing firearms on them, shooting paintball bullets into the crowd, wielding knives and guns, and destroying a snack truck with baseball bats.
One reporter, Robert Evans, broke his hand after Portland-based Proud Boy Travis Taylor smashed his hand with a baton, telling the media that right-wing assailants were "very aggressive from the jump" and "absolutely came prepared to fight."
#UnitedStates | Far-right Proud Boys supporters clashed with Black Lives Matter protesters in Portland, Oregon, as police looked on.
The city has been the site of ongoing protests against police brutality since the death of George Floyd in June. pic.twitter.com/o0NQ4AcbKj
The weekend violence was the worst the city has seen since 2018, harking back to a consistently contentious dynamic that has afflicted Portland since the election of Donald Trump. From 2017-2019 Portland was a hotbed for right-wing supremacist groups like the Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer, who descended from across the country, met by anti-fascist counter-protestors yet primarily supported by the Portland Police Bureau (PPB).
While the 85-night streak of Black Lives Matter protesters have mostly confronted federal agents and other law enforcement agents, which became a national scandal as numerous local authorities tried to force the Trump administration to withdraw them, the renewed presence of right-wing paramilitary groups have many fearing fresh violence will continue, mostly as the PPB has set a precedent of not intervening to prevent vigilante violence.
A spokesperson for Rose City Antifa, an established anti-fascist group supporting the downtown protests, said, "Police brutality and white nationalist organizing are two sides of the same coin, and they should be treated as such."