The violence broke out in Portland, Oregon, such as groups of demonstrators both in support of and opposition to President Trump converged downtown Sunday, after the mayor failed to get a permit for one of the rally’s withdrawn to the middle of the growing tensions.
The police said that people hurled bricks and at least one gas bottle to the officers in Chapman Square. Law enforcement fired back with “less lethal, chemical ammunition,” police said.
Officers arrested at least three people and seized several weapons, including what appeared to be a knife, brass knuckles and a homemade slingshot. They also had to dodge balloons filled with a smelly liquid, Fox 12 reported.
Crowd swelled to several thousand. Much of the city was on edge after the fatal stabbing of two men who tried to stop another anti-Muslim rant a little more than a week ago.
The pro-Trump-free-speech rally organized by a conservative group with the name Patriot Prayer drew hundreds on a square near City Hall. Rally organizer Joey Gibson told the crowd that the goal was to be woken up by the freedom of movement. “It’s OK to be a conservative in Portland,” he said.
Protesters chanted “USA” and held up supportive banners.
The group was met by hundreds of counter-protesters organized by immigrant-rights, religious and labor groups. Many of them filled the steps of City Hall, drummed and played music and held signs, some of which read “Our city is bigger than the hate” and “Black lives matter.” Some chanted “love, not hate” and “Go home, by the fascists.”
“We build our hope and our endurance for justice by showing up,” the Rev. Diane Dulin of the United Church of Christ, said in a statement ahead of the rally.
Last week, Mayor Ted Wheeler tried unsuccessfully to have the permit for the free speech rally to be repealed, saying it could further enflame tensions.
The defendant in the light-rail plug -in, Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, followed a similar rally by the end of April, the wearing of an American flag around his neck, and with a baseball bat. The police seized the bat, and he was then caught on camera clashing with counter-protesters.
On May 26, a Christian, killed two men and injured on the light-rail train when they were trying to help, after he yelled at two young women wearing a hijab, researchers said. Christian is charged with aggravated murder and other counts.
In a video posted on Facebook, Joey Gibson of the group Patriot Prayer condemned Christian and recognized that some rallies have attracted “legitimate Nazis.” He described the Christian as “crazy” and “not a good guy.”
Mat dos Santos, the legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, said that it was wrong and unconstitutional for Wheeler to try to stop the demonstrations on the basis of the position of the organizers.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.