Portland, Ore., braces for far-right rally, antifa counterprotests

Portland, Ore., braces for far-right rally, antifa counterprotests
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Authorities in Portland, Ore., are bracing for dueling far-right and antifa protests planned this weekend after rivaling demonstrations turned violent in the city in June. 

Portland leaders are planning a major law enforcement presence, with all of the city’s 1,000 officers working on Saturday, The Associated Press reports

State police and FBI will also assist, and Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) may ask Gov. Kate Brown (D) to call out the Oregon National Guard, the AP added.  

Wheeler told the news service that Portland will be ready. 

“But at the end of the day, the bigger question is about our nation’s moral compass and which direction it’s pointing,” he added. 

Rose City Antifa, an anti-fascist group, called on members to demonstrate Saturday in the city as “once again the Far Right is coming to Portland to attempt to silence and terrorize vulnerable members of our community.”

“Our city is a target for right-wing attacks precisely because it is a symbol of progressive values,” the Facebook announcement said. 

Heidi Beirich, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, echoed a similar sentiment regarding the planned far-right protests when speaking to the AP. 

“It’s Portlandia, and in the public mind it represents everything these [far-right] groups are against,” Beirich said. “It’s progressive, and even more offensive to them, it’s progressive white people who should be on these guys’ side.”

During rivaling protests in June, conservative journalist Andy Ngo alleged he was attacked by antifa protesters.

The AP reports that experts who track right-wing militia and hate groups said the people expected to demonstrate in Portland this weekend are among the same as those who came together for the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va.

That demonstration ended with a man driving his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, killing one person and injuring dozens more.