PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A rally planned by the Ku Klux Klan at the Multnomah County Courthouse was canceled Saturday hours before its scheduled start. But throngs of anti-fascist protesters arrived, leading to the arrest of 3 people.
About three hours prior to the KKK rally taking place, the Portland Police Bureau announced organizers — who they did not name — had backed out of the event early Saturday.
Before the arrests, Portland police said it was a peaceful demonstration.
Olivia Katbi Smith, the co-chair of the Portland Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, said hundreds came out to protest the KKK rally.
“We are here once again to stand up for our city,” she said.
“The KKK had said they were going to have a rally outside of the courthouse,” Smith said. “They have since canceled that rally which I view as a success for our movement.”
A large group of Antifa acolytes gathered on the streets across from the Multnomah County Courthouse, many dressed in all-black with masks. Around 1 p.m., PPB tweeted “lit flares are being thrown into the roadway near Lownsdale Square,” and that “several subjects” were seen spray painting a monument within the park.
Some of the protesters used “metal-tipped umbrellas” to jab “people and chase them down the street,” PPB said in a release.
Earlier, a group of protesters pushed police while throwing oranges, a glass bottle , tennis balls rock, concrete, batons, cans and mud at the officers and other people. Three people were treated after being pepper-sprayed by people in the crowd, police said, noting officers “did not use force against anyone during this event.”
Additionally, a woman was hit by a car at SW 2nd and Madison during the protest and was taken to a hospital. The driver stayed at the scene and the woman is expected to recover.
The nearly 4-hour event took a large police presence to keep the peace, PPB officials said.
“A small group’s actions negatively impacted public safety of the entire city because resources had to be diverted to this event,” PPB Chief Jami Resch said in a statement. She noted people assembled to exercise their freedom of speech.
“Unfortunately, a group of people chose to engage in dangerous, illegal behavior. I appreciate the thoughtful, measured response by our officers and law enforcement partners.”
“We think it’s really important for the left to show up to fight against the far right,” said Rosemary Dodd with Socialists Alternative.
Three people were arrested: Brandon Farley, 31, charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct; Heaven Davis, 19, charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief; and Willy Cannon, 25, charged with a misdemeanor for abusing a memorial and a felony for criminal mischief.
The investigation into other criminal activity continues. Anyone with information is asked to contact PPB.