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3 Arrests, Little Violence at Far-Right Group’s Portland Rally

Members of the Proud Boys cheer on stage as they and other right-wing demonstrators rally, Sept. 26, 2020, in Portland, Ore.
Members of the Proud Boys cheer on stage as they and other right-wing demonstrators rally, Sept. 26, 2020, in Portland, Ore.

Three people were arrested Saturday at a right-wing rally in Portland, Oregon, the city’s police said, adding that they also were investigating one assault.

The rally attracted several hundred people, far short of the crowd of 10,000 that organizers had expected. The rally began at noon and was mostly over by 3 p.m. The Oregon Department of Transportation closed an interstate briefly.

"The purpose of this closure was to clear some people out of the area who wanted to leave and to keep competing groups separate," Chris Liedle, a spokesperson with the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, said in updates posted on Twitter.

The three arrests included a man suspected of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and a woman with an outstanding arrest warrant, Liedle said.

The rally, in support of President Donald Trump and his campaign for reelection, was organized by the Proud Boys, a self-described “Western chauvinist” group that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as a hate group.

The group described the rally as a free-speech event to support Trump and the police and to restore law and order. Trump's campaign has featured criticism of sometimes-violent protests over a series of incidents involving police treatment of Black people, including this week's decision not to charge white police officers in Kentucky who fatally shot a Black woman, Breonna Taylor.

“We the PEOPLE are tired of incompetent city leadership who neuters police and allows violent gangs or rioting felons to run the streets, burn buildings … and assault people with impunity,” the group wrote in an application to the city for a permit to hold the rally. City officials denied the permit, citing coronavirus concerns.

The White House has not commented on the rally in Portland, where nightly protests against racism and police brutality — now nearing a fifth month — have taken place in the wake of several recent police incidents. Trump has labeled the city, however, as an “anarchist jurisdiction” where leaders are incompetent, and lawlessness is unchecked.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency Friday and activated state troopers to assist Portland police and said about 50 crowd-control officers would be deputized as federal marshals in response to that rally and another rally planned by left-wing demonstrators at the same time.

A Trump supporter was shot and killed in Portland last month after some vehicles in a pro-Trump caravan encountered left-wing activists. Law enforcement officers killed the suspect, a self-described anti-fascist, the following week as they tried to arrest him in Washington state.

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