State troopers were activated Saturday in Portland, Oregon, ahead of a rally by members of a far-right group in support of President Donald Trump and his campaign for reelection.
The rally was organized by the Proud Boys, a self-described “Western chauvinist” group that the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as 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.
No White House comment
The White House has not commented on the rally in Portland, where nightly protests against racism and police brutality — which have entered a fifth month — have taken place in the wake of several 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. She said state troopers would assist Portland police and that 50 crowd-control officers would be deputized as federal marshals in response to the Proud Boys 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.