PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — An afternoon of protests, tense moments and projectiles thrown landed 6 people in jail in the wake of another faceoff between Patriot Prayer supporters and anti-fascist activists.
The arrests and charges were announced by Portland police at the end of about 6 hours of rallies, chants, skirmishes and near-mayhem over issues related to sexual assault allegations and its political implications.
Of the 6 people arrested, 5 were charged with interfering with a peace officer: Ruben A. Delahuerga, 25; Betsy Toll, 68; Elizabeth L. Cheek, 33; Brittany Frost, 35; and Gary Fresquez, 52.
Fresquez also faces disorderly conduct. The 6th person, 19-year-old Hannah R. McClintock, was charged with harassment.
How the events unfolded
In the first of 3 separate-but-connected rallies Saturday at Terry Schrunk Plaza, Olivia Katbismitch, the co-chair of Portland Democratic Socialists of America, said, “The only thing that beats fascists is a bigger crowd of anti-fascists.”
A much larger crowd of self-identified anti-fascists filled the streets of downtown Portland as supporters of Patriot Prayer held a small #HimToo rally, which makes the claim men are oppressed and abused.
As Joey Gibson and his Patriot Prayer acolyte Tusitala “Tiny” Toese spoke and danced at the small #HimToo gathering of no more than 75 people, the antifascists — kept away by police and Department of Homeland Security officers — chanted “We believe survivors.”
But as the rally came to a close around 4 p.m., a march through the streets began. Portland police once again began using their loudspeakers in an effort to corral demonstrators.
Soon, tear gas and a small explosive were set off. The Portland police ordered all demonstrators “to disperse to the north.”
The crowd marched through the streets. Chants of “Nazis, go home!” boomed. Police in riot gear arrived in various locations to keep the demonstrators on the sidewalks.
Shortly after 5 p.m., most of the Patriot Prayer and #HimToo supporters had cleared the area, but some Antifa and #MeToo supporters remained along SW Yamhill.
However, at 5:45 p.m., authorities were taking down the fencing that had surrounded Terry Schrunk Plaza.
Warning: Graphic language
Protests began at noon
The opposing groups began arriving in early afternoon. The first rally, #SurvivorsAreEverywhere , was organized by PopMobPDX (short for Popular Mobilization.)
NOW: #SURVIVORSAREEVERYWHERE —the opposing group to the #HimToo movement—are gathered in Terry Shrunk Plaza sharing their stories. #KOIN6News pic.twitter.com/rR99Ci7eb9— Elise Haas (@EliseKOIN) November 17, 2018
One of the speakers fired up the crowd of about 200: “The only thing that beats fascists is a bigger crowd of anti-fascists. … We stand up against fascists! … When we fight, we win,” which became a crowd call back.
A number of women took to the microphone to share their intensely personal stories of sexual assault and abuse.
A number of the speakers also took verbal swipes at Mayor Ted Wheeler in almost equal measure as verbal swipes at Patriot Prayer and their supporters.
The rally ended around 1:30 p.m., but other groups arrived immediately.
That’s when the action ramped up. But Portland police almost immediately took to the loudspeakers and announced the sidewalks along SW Madison between 2nd and 3rd were closed and told everyone to go back into Chapman Square.
Antifa supporters in their hoodies and black masks plus hundreds of others lingered along the sidewalks as the police repeatedly made loudspeaker announcements.
Chants of “Women-hating sexist trolls, go crawl back into your holes!” and “Anti-woman, anti-gay right wing bigots go away!” filled the streets as protesters continued to line the sidewalk near Chapman Square.
The object of their derision were the people inside Terry Schrunk Plaza taking part in the #HimToo rally.
When Gibson spoke, he said, “One of the things I think about most is equality. We believe everyone has an equal opportunity. We look into the allegations and the evidence.”
Various speakers made the argument that men are being constantly overshadowed and told their experiences don’t matter. Christopher Foster urged people to “join us in the fight for rights for men and accountability for women.”
Gibson also said they planned to march along the Vancouver waterfront later.
While making his own remarks, Toese broke into a dance and others joined in.
Later, another speaker said, “I know not everyone might be a staunch Republican like me, but I know we can agree that the left has turned sexual assault into a weapon.”
Another speaker with a Southern accent said he drove all the way from Arkansas to speak at the #HimToo rally. He did not prepare a speech, he said, but he railed against the “Democratic women cabal” and defended Roy Moore.
Counter-protesters, by the way, brought cardboard guillotines to the protest. They also chanted “We believe survivors!” as various people spoke.
Members of the “Him Too” movement are out in Terry Schrunk Plaza. Speakers are saying “the truth comes first before we look at the accused” #koin6news #pdx pic.twitter.com/O8AQOXh88P— Jennifer Dowling (@JenDowlingKoin6) November 17, 2018
Groups with opposing viewpoints cited the First Amendment as they converged in downtown Portland Saturday in the latest re-run of political protest that has the potential for violence.
The well-known players — Patriot Prayer and/or their supporters, Antifa and its tentacled and often mask-wearing followers plus tangential protesters — are expected to gather around Terry Schrunk Plaza shortly before noon.
Local, state and federal law enforcement are on alert and ready for whatever will happen.
Portland police said in a release Friday a group is expected to gather in Terry Schrunk Plaza, a piece of federal land in the heart of downtown, the 1200 block of SW 3rd.
There will be fencing around Terry Schrunk Plaza before the demonstrations begin, officials told KOIN 6 News.
Generally, demonstrations don’t need a permit from the city. But anything that goes onto the streets and sidewalks does require a permit, city officials said.
“There will be a law enforcement presence in the area of the demonstration,” PPB said in a release. “Persons attending any of the events should not bring any weapons or items that can be used as weapons to any of the events.”
Known groups expected to take part in these demonstrations are:
Rose City Antifa, the “anti-fascist” group opposed to the “misogyny” of Patriot Prayer
Patriot Prayer, however, said on their Facebook page, ” Patriot Prayer has NO scheduled events this weekend. Anyone attending any events will be doing so as a private citizen and NOT as a member of Patriot Prayer.”
#HimToo, a group of people behind a movement that states “men can be abused” and should “have the right to a fair trial.”
#SurvivorsAreEverywhere, who describe themselves as “one strong, fierce, community coming together to amplify the voices of survivors who break the silence and share their stories.”
Law enforcement partners
Portland police partnered with a number of law enforcement agencies during these expected protests. Among them: the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office, the Gresham PD, Port of Portland police, the Federal Protective Service, Portland Fire & Rescue and the Multnomah County DA’s Office.