Tensions high as Patriot Prayer & Antifa protestors stage rival rallies in Portland

A scene from a Patriot Prayer rally that took place on the Portland waterfront over a year ago

The demonstrations Saturday drew hundreds and there was a heavy police presence as similar gatherings have turned violent.

Police Chief Danielle Outlaw, who assumed command less than a year ago as Portland's first African-American female police chief, said in a statement Sunday she takes all use-of-force cases seriously.

FOX 12 reached out to police for more information about the injuries that were reported, but have not heard back. There was also debris left on the street by demonstrators.

"A lot of people at the top are laughing their asses off", Gibson told the crowd. Two previous events ended in bloody fistfights and riots.

In response, local leftist and antifa groups are prepping counterprotests.

Gibson disputed the group's classification by some as a hate group.

The Oregon chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Portland chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America said in a joint statement that the police "targeted Portland residents peacefully counter-protesting against racist far-right groups, including white supremacists, white nationalists, and neo-Nazi gangs".

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But the Portland events have taken on outsize significance after a Patriot Prayer sympathizer was charged with fatally stabbing two men who came to the defense of two young black women - one in a hijab - on a light-rail train in May 2017.

Four people were arrested in early June when Patriot Prayer held a "Freedom March" downtown and a counterrally was held in the same area.

Police in riot gear have confiscated items that could be used as a weapon.

Meanwhile, due to the events at the park, officers were only responding to emergency service calls, the bureau said.

The group Patriot Prayer USA reportedly planned to hold a rally that drew opposition.

Patriot Prayer organizers will be busing followers in from Vancouver, a Portland suburb in Washington state, according to Oregon Public Broadcasting. Oregon Live reported that a large police presence kept the two groups separated during the rally, though police reported collecting weapons from both sides.

Far right protesters jeer at members of Antifa during protests organised by the far right group the Proud Boys. It is illegal to carry a loaded firearm in public in Portland unless the owner is in possession of a valid OR concealed handgun license.

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Saldaña suggested that an opposing event in a different part of town could be a more effective counter-protest.

A broader counter-protest organized by a coalition of labor unions, immigrant rights groups and artists also will gather at City Hall.

Police "targeted Portland residents peacefully counter-protesting against racist far-right groups, including white supremacists, white nationalists, and neo-Nazi gangs", the OR chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Portland chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America said in a statement Saturday.

Among the right-wing marchers, some of whom wore body armor and carried shields, were members of the Patriot Prayer group founded by Joey Gibson.

While this past weekend's rally in Portland fell short of being "the next Charlottesville" as the Southern Poverty Law Center warned, the city was still partially shut down by protests, cops fired rubber bullets into crowds, and at least one journalist was sent to the hospital with blood pouring from their head.

Gibson has said that he won't stop bringing his followers to Portland until they can express their right-wing views without interference.

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