Thousands of right-wing protesters from the Proud Boys group are expected to attend demonstrations in Portland, Ore., on Saturday in support of President Trump and his "law and order" reelection campaign.
The Proud Boys, which has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, described the demonstration as a free speech event to support the president and the police, to advocate for a return to law and order, and to condemn anti-fascists, "domestic terrorism" and "violent gangs of rioting felons," The Associated Press reported.
Oregon Gov. Kate BrownKate BrownOregon legislature on the brink as Democrats push gerrymandered maps Oregon governor sued by police, firefighters over vaccine mandate Unvaccinated employee sparked COVID-19 outbreak at Oregon assisted living facility: officials MORE (D) declared a state of emergency ahead of the rally this week, adding on Friday that she was sending state troopers to help Portland police.
"The Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer groups have come time and time again looking for a fight, and the results are always tragic. Let me be perfectly clear, we will not tolerate any type of violence this weekend," said Brown. "Left, right or center, violence is never a path towards meaningful change."
The right-wing demonstrations come as nationwide frustrations over the Kentucky grand jury's ruling in the police killing of Breonna Taylor caused chaos in Louisville's streets, with more protests about the jury's verdict breaking out in cities such as Portland, Seattle and New York City.
The grand jury did not bring charges directly related to Taylor's killing against the three officers involved, leading to massive disappointment among protesters who have advocated for justice during protests this year against police brutality and racism.
The left-wing movement antifa — which has been present at various demonstrations across the country this year — also vowed massive counterprotests Saturday.
Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio said the group's demonstrations are purposefully targeted at Portland, which has experienced more than 100 nights of protests this year from left-wing activists and members of the Black Lives Matter movement.
"It's the epicenter for all this. It goes beyond free speech right now. Portland has franchised these riots across the country," Tarrio told The Washington Post, saying he hopes his event encourages law enforcement to take more action against demonstrators.
Clashes against the two polarizing groups are a significant concern for the demonstrations Saturday.
“This is a critical moment. We have seen what happens when armed vigilantes take matters into their own hands. We’ve seen it in Charlottesville, we’ve seen it in Kenosha and, unfortunately, we have seen it in Portland,” said Brown.
Last month, a right-wing demonstrator was killed after a conflict between Black Lives Matter protesters and Trump supporters erupted in Portland.