Patriot Prayer and Anti-Fascists Face Off in Portland

Portland, OR – About a month after violent street fighting in Portland, Joey Gibson’s Patriot Prayer are back, on Saturday, August 4, and again, the city is expecting violence. On June 30, many Proud Boys and other far-right groups joined Patriot Prayer in a event thrown by Joey Gibson that turned into what the city dubbed a riot, as massive fights in the streets erupted between them and the anti-racists and anti-fascists opposing them. Saturday’s event has drawn the ire of the nation, as national news crews have descended onto Portland to cover what are expected to be masses on each side of the political spectrum.


[NEW REPORT 8.7.18 – Portland Police Attack Antifascists, Defend Outnumbered Hate Rally]


Unicorn Riot will be providing live coverage of the events in Portland, which are set to take place from the late morning through the afternoon in and near Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

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UPDATE [1:00PM CDT]: About 100 Proud Boys and other Patriot Prayer supporters just arrived at the Waterfront in Portland. Lots of neo-confederate imagery.

UPDATE [3:47PM CDT]: Proud Boys are attempting to leave the park under police escort while being followed by a large crowd of antifascists. Police have used LRAD to announce crowds to move back off streets or face arrest and/or injury from less lethal weapons.

UPDATE [3:54PM CDT]: Portland police have opened fire on the large crowd of antifascists using tear gas, pepper spray and stun grenades. Police have made arrests of counter-protesters.

UPDATE [4:26PM CDT]: Police have declared a “civil disturbance” and are demanding antifascists leave the area.

UPDATE [9:00PM CDT]:  According to reports on social media, one antifascist was shot in the back of the head with a police “less-lethal” round and appears to now be in hospital.

 


Gibson, the founder of the far-right group Patriot Prayer, is running as a Republican for Senate in the state of Washington, yet continues to have political rallies and marches in the state of Oregon. He recently said in a video posted to Facebook that he was targeting Portland to “bring light” into “a dark city.” Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has also been supporting the rally, promoting Joey Gibson on his broadcasts and encouraging his audience to travel to Portland. Gibson is a felon whose criminal convictions include robbery, although he recently had his concealed carry license reinstated.

Although Patriot Prayer members claim to not be racists or white supremacists, their events have been magnets for hardened far-right extremists in the past. Joey Gibson’s events have a history of bringing out Nazis from groups like Identity Europa, American Front, and the Traditionalist Worker Party. At least one man affiliated with Patriot Prayer and already in town for the event, Christopher Richter, is a known white supremacist who marched at ‘Unite the Right’ in Charlottesville last August. Gibson has also repeatedly promoted the conspiracy theory that the neo-nazi rally in Charlottesville last year was a staged false flag event designed to discredit the right.

Patriot Prayer and others linked to them have stepped up their violent attacks in Portland, on people of color, immigrants, and anti-racists. Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys member Tiny Tusitala has been involved in recent incidents where he drives around the area with a Confederate flag and then gets out of the vehicle and assault those who make negative comments about the flag. Joey Gibson, Tiny, and their crew also showed up to harass the ‘Occupy ICE’ encampment in Portland before it was evicted by the city.

In May 2017, a white supremacist named Jeremy Christian, who repeatedly attended Gibson’s rallies, stabbed three men, killing two, on a train in Portland after they intervened when Christian was harassing several Muslim women.

On the right, Patriot Prayer/Proud Boys member Tiny Tusitala can be seen standing immediately behind Portland train stabber Jeremy Christian. (Photo credit: Doug Brown/Portland Mercury)

Meanwhile, local antifascist groups are preparing multiple counter-rallies on Saturday. Other anti-racist groups and unions are also holding rallies countering Patriot Prayer’s gathering. Portland Police have stated that they intend to keep Patriot Prayer and counter-protesters separate from each other, but it is unclear to what extent they will be able to keep the groups apart for the entire day. Patriot Prayer reportedly plans to march downtown after rallying at the waterfront.

Continue to follow Unicorn Riot on social media for live updates.

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