Liberal activist assaulted by Antifa members in Portland: report

A liberal activist who says he was protesting right-wing groups marching in Portland says he was beaten bloody by members of Antifa angry at him for holding an American flag.

Paul Welch told Oregon Live that he attended a protest march led by Proud Boys and other right-wing groups with the intent of demonstrating what he called a “tacitly fascist event.”

{mosads}Instead, Welch says he was struck from behind in the head with a club by Antifa members who demanded that he drop his American flag, which they called a fascist symbol.

“I didn’t come as a part of any one group,” Welch said. “I was just protesting outsiders coming here for their tacitly fascist event.”

“The right and certainly a lot of smaller groups like Patriot Prayer might rush to things like the flag and try to take it up as, ‘This is our symbol exclusively,’ ” he continued. “Part of my thinking was to take it back.”

Video of the beating has been viewed online more than 800,000 times after being posted online. Welch, who identifies himself as a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) 2016 presidential campaign and of Hillary Clinton as well, said he attended the rally to display a message of unity.

“I had felt like showing that a liberal, free Portland — or any major city, really — is much more American and much more numerous and strong than any of these interloping groups,” Welch added.

Welch suffered a concussion and a 3-inch gash according to Oregon Live, and says he believes he was struck with the metal end of a club.

He added that he was “disappointed” in his attackers and had filed a police report.

“It strikes me as the worst sort of political theater,” Welch told Oregon Live. “It’s kind of like you’re playing into your opponents’ hands when you do that sort of thing. That’s not what I was there for.”

Left-leaning Antifa groups have faced criticism for their sometimes violent responses to white nationalist rallies and other right-leaning demonstrations in recent months due to their frequent clashes with opposing groups at the sites of right-wing speakers and rallies.

Tags antifa Bernie Sanders Bernie Sanders Democratic Party Hillary Clinton Hillary Clinton Left-wing politics Oregon Portland

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