The far-right Proud Boys claimed success and vowed to conduct monthly protests in Portland after a weekend “End Domestic Terrorism” rally in Oregon’s largest city drew hundreds to condemn anti-fascist “antifa” activists.
Rose City Antifa, Portland’s anti-fascist activist organization, countered with its own demonstration against the Proud Boys, an all-male extremist group condemned by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its ties to white nationalism.
Portland Police Lieutenant Tina Jones said 1,200 people representing both sides took to downtown streets and that least 13 arrests were made. Authorities were mostly able to keep the conflicting groups apart through a series of protests and counterprotests lasting about nine hours.
Six people suffered minor injuries, Jones said.
“We know there is the possibility that assaults or other crimes occurred outside of the view of officers,” police said in a statement. “Officers and detectives will be spending the hours and days ahead writing reports, conducting interviews and pursuing investigations.”
Proud Boys protest organizer Joe Biggs said his group sought national attention and they got it. He noted President Donald Trump’s tweets as the protests unfolded.
Trump tweeted that Portland was “being watched very closely” and that the government was considering a plan to name antifa a terrorist organization, a designation normally reserved for foreign organizations.
The idea is not new. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, last month cosponsored a Senate resolution that would designate groups and organizations “who act under the banner of antifa” to be designated as domestic terrorist organizations.
“Look at President Trump’s Twitter,” Biggs said in a tweet that went viral. “He talked about Portland, said he’s watching antifa. That’s all we wanted. We wanted national attention, and we got it. Mission success.”