Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Activism, Uncensored: Violence in Portland

By Matt Taibbi

Right-wing demonstrators clash with self-styled antifascists in the latest News2Share report.

As promised earlier, here’s the extended report from Ford Fischer and News2Share on the events of this past weekend in Portland, which saw wide-scale violence from right-wing protesters and an exchange of gunfire, as well as an incident in which self-described antifascist protesters assaulted a reporter.

More TK.

On Sunday, American political street violence escalated when right wing groups including Proud Boys once again fought antifascists on the streets of Portland, with virtually no police intervention.

Weeks ago, right-wing groups announced a “patriot rally” which was expected to take place at Portland’s downtown waterfront. After antifascists announced a counter-rally virtually right next to the original rally point, the right-wingers changed their own location to an abandoned Kmart Parking lot more than a fifteen minute drive away, on the outskirts of town.

A little over a hundred participants showed up, many with weapons including baseball bats and paintball guns.

The Proud Boys were one of the largest contingencies at the event, and they largely focused on their comrades detained since January 6.

After the rally had gone on for about an hour and a half, antifascists arrived, and the two sides immediately began to brawl, largely exchanging paintballs on the right for fireworks and mace on the left.

Press found themselves in the crossfire of the fighting. Maranie Rae Staab was assaulted by a right winger, who sprayed her with a substance she later identified as likely being WD-40, which is toxic if ingested and irritates skin.

Maranie had previously contributed coverage from Colombia to TK News.

About five minutes later, an antifascist in black bloc approached her and called her sexist expletives while condemning her coverage.

When she went to speak to the wider group, she was shot with paint and mace, thrown to the ground, and had her iPhone and photo camera destroyed.

The fighting continued.

As the antifascists retreated past the parking lot of a local school, one of their comrades – who had not participated in the fighting and appeared to be in a vehicle transporting water bottles – was surrounded by Proud Boys, who broke the windows and used paint balls and mace on the person inside.

When the right-wingers returned to the Kmart parking lot, they destroyed the van apparently used to carry counter protesters ahead of the event.

Right wingers continued to shoot paintballs at counter-protesters who arrived at the scene as they departed.

Back downtown, where a significant group of antifascists had gathered at the originally planned rally site, a man fired a gun at the group, who appeared to return fire.

He was arrested within minutes, one of the only police interventions the entire day.

Ahead of the event, Portland police released a statement saying they intended not to intervene in the violence.

They certainly followed through on that.

Produced by Ford Fischer / News2Share for Activism Uncensored, a Collaboration with TK News

Leave a Reply