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  • Members of the right-wing Patriot Prayer group gather before a rally in Portland.

    Members of the right-wing Patriot Prayer group gather before a rally in Portland. | Photo: Reuters

Published 4 August 2018
Opinion

Members of the right-wing Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys, both hate groups, were met with counter-protesters shouting anti-fascist slogans.

Scores of U.S. right-wing and anti-fascist demonstrators squared off on Saturday in Portland, Oregon, where four people were injured in similar rallies on June 30.

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Police tried to keep the two sides apart as protesters chanted and hurled insults at each other. Authorities set up a security perimeter around a waterfront park and officers frisked attendees and confiscated flag poles and other potential weapons.

Among the right-wing marchers, some of whom wore body armor and carried shields, were members of the Patriot Prayer group founded by Joey Gibson, a conservative Republican who is running for the U.S. Senate in November's midterm elections.

They were opposed by counter-protesters, some dressed in black with face masks, who shouted anti-Nazi slogans.

Police later declared the event a 'civil disturbance' and ordered everyone to leave the park.

The mayor of the Northwestern US city, Ted Wheeler, said in a statement on Friday: "It is particularly troubling to me that individuals are posting publicly their intent to act out violently. We don't want this here."

A police statement said weapons would be seized if the owner doesn't have the proper paperwork. It is illegal to carry a loaded firearm in public in Portland unless the owner is in possession of a valid Oregon concealed handgun license.

Counter-Protesters gather before a rally by the right-wing Patriot Prayer group in Portland, Oregon, U.S., Aug. 4, 2018. | Reuters

"The potent combination of bigotry and violence on the streets of Portland poses a serious threat to community safety, and particularly to residents who are people of color, women and LGBTQ," said a statement by the Western States Center signed by 40 activist groups.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit group that monitors extremism, Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys have appeared together at several rallies in the Pacific Northwest since 2017.

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