Portland, Oregon, authorities confiscated bear spray, shields, metal poles and other weapons and made multiple arrests during protests involving far-right groups and antifa in the city on Saturday.
Nearly 1,000 police officers were sent to provide security and monitor the protests organized by the far-right group Proud Boys in downtown Portland. Police set up barricades and shut down streets and bridges to quell tensions between the opposing groups.
Demonstrators gathered on both sides of the Williamette River, with some Proud Boys members waving flags and wearing body armor and helmets. Antifa supporters wore their black-clad gear with masks covering most of their faces.
Police reportedly seized the flag poles, deeming the objects as weapons, to the dismay of protesters. Officers also moved through the crowds while saying over a loudspeaker that demonstrators would be arrested for stepping into the streets because the rallies were not officially approved.
Military personnel from more than two dozen local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies have been called in to provide security at the rally and in other various support roles.
The Associated Press reported that at least three people were arrested.
The Saturday protests had been publicized for weeks leading up to the rally since Portland has had a string of demonstrations in recent years that have often turned violent. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said ahead of the rally that demonstrators who protruded hate or acted violently were “not welcome.”
President Trump tweeted about the protests on Saturday morning, writing “Portland is being watched very closely. Hopefully the Mayor will be able to properly do his job!”
Major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an “ORGANIZATION OF TERROR.” Portland is being watched very closely. Hopefully the Mayor will be able to properly do his job!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
August 17, 2019