Over 100 of what many local residents consider to be neo-Nazi nationalists gathered at Terry Schrunk Plaza for a self-described "freedom rally" organized by Joey Gibson, a Senate candidate for Washington and leader of Patriot Prayer.
— Storm 🏴 (@xBc26x) July 1, 2018
In addition, more than 100 counter-protesters showed up across the street at Chapman Square to protest the right-wing group's march after the Eugene Antifa created a Facebook event called "Defend PDX: Patriot Prayer's violence must end."
"It is very important that antifascists keep up the pressure so that we can stop them once and for all," according to the Facebook page for the event.
Although police officers confiscated objects from the anti-fascist group that could be used as weapons, including clubs and knives, law enforcement did not seize the wooden flag poles brandished by the Patriot Prayer cabal, who then used those to beat anti fascist protesters, Slate reported.
— Katie Shepherd (@katemshepherd) July 1, 2018
The violence broke out after right-wing marchers left the plaza and moved into downtown Portland, as counter demonstrators threw eggs, water bottles and firecrackers. Portland police quickly intervened, firing paintballs filled with pepper spray at participants of what the law enforcement officials now considered to be a ‘riot.'
Gibson told KOIN that the clashes were "good" and vowed to "keep hitting it — I don't see what else to do other than that," cited by Willamette Week.
"We'll make Portland so ugly," the right-wing leader and political candidate promised.