PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Unlike the several pro-Trump rallies happening around the country at statehouses Sunday, very few demonstrators showed up at the Capitol in Salem.
Journalist Zane Sparling of KOIN 6 News’ media partner the Portland Tribune tweeted the the number of journalists prepared the cover the event was significantly larger than the number of protesters who showed up.
Although the crowd was small, protesters were armed. They told KOIN 6 News they were there for various reasons.
“We are just people here to peacefully protest, not railing against the fence or trying to rip boards down. That’s not who we are or what we want to do. We are – we’re peaceful,” a demonstrator named Ace said.
Ace did not provide his last name when he spoke to KOIN.
He said he wasn’t there in support of President Donald Trump, but was there to protest the government in general. He said he was standing up for his right of free speech and to bear arms.
Kathleen Shrum attended the event to counter protest. She brought a sign protesting white supremacy. She said she was relieved that the Trump presidency is ending and that Joe Biden is the president-elect.
“I am just so grateful that he’s elected. I am so grateful that Trump was not successful in his coup attempt. I did not want to see him become, well, a dictator,” she said. “I am going to come out here every day and support President-elect Biden.”
Shrum said she’s still concerned about potential violence in the coming week.
“I believe the country is a tinder box right now,” she said.
The groups peacefully protested until about 2:30 p.m. and then left the area.
Elsewhere Sunday, small groups of demonstrators–some of whom are armed–gathered outside statehouses, including in Michigan, Ohio and South Carolina.
Oregon State Police and Salem Police say they are still prepared for a busy week ahead, should larger protests occur.
KOIN 6 News has a crew at the scene in Salem and will add developments to this article as they come in.