Portland police were accused Sunday of being heavy-handed against people protesting a rally by extreme-right demonstrators, reportedly injuring some counter-protesters and prompting the city’s new police chief to order a review of officers’ use of force, according to Oregon Observer.
Police in riot gear tried to keep the two groups apart, many of whom had come on Saturday dressed for battle in helmets and protective clothing. Dozens of the extreme-right protesters were bussed to Portland, one of America’s most liberal cities, from nearby Vancouver, Washington.
Saturday’s clashes were the most recent of several this year in the city as right-wing militants converged, met by counter-protesters, including members of anti-fascist, or “ANTIFA,” groups. City officials have struggled with striking a balance between free speech and keeping events from spiraling out of control.
#Portland police have opened fire on a large crowd of antifascists w/ tear gas, pepper spray & stun grenades. Police are escorting the #ProudBoys through downtown Portland & have made arrests of antifascists, declared a "civil disturbance", and demand #Antifa disperse. #AllOutPDX pic.twitter.com/GvxCyb1rXb
— Unicorn Riot (@UR_Ninja) August 4, 2018
RWN reported that Antifa refused to disperse and leave, so flash-bang grenades were fired towards and into the crowd. One of them hit the protester, lodging into the back of his helmet and taking off a good chunk of his scalp in the process.
Regardless of what Antifa claims, Portland police warned protesters repeatedly that they were going to use the grenades to break up the riot. Besides a sound truck on-site announcing their intentions, a tweet was also sent out.
Was just standing next to @Oregonian reporter @edercampuzano, he got hit with something and is bleeding. Medics helping him. Things are getting extremely intense, even for those of us standing back from the center of these groups pic.twitter.com/F4ID7Dj2Zp
— Tyler Dumont (@TylerDumontNews) August 4, 2018
ABC News posted videos of the riot, as well as flash-bang grenades being fired at the Antifa protesters. One or two journalists were injured during the riot. I believe one was from ABC News and one was from the Oregonian. There was quite a bit of blood. Another person who Antifa tried to yank a flag away from also got hurt. Every injury I saw was head-related, but there were probably others as well.
Many members of the Freedom March, which included Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys, wore body armor to protect themselves from Antifa attacks.