Videos and Photos by Ford Fischer
Article by Joel Simon
What started as a small rally in a Kmart parking lot turned violent and chaotic as Proud Boys and associated right wing activists clashed with a group of Antifascist acivists in black bloc in Portland, Oregon.
Portland police were not present as civilians and journalists were caught in the crossfire.
The day’s events began with a right-wing rally commemorating what the Proud Boys called the “Summer of Love”- an anniversary of a previous violent clash between Proud Boys and Antifa in Portland in 2020.
Originally scheduled to take place in Portland’s downtown waterfront, organizers moved the event’s location to the abandoned Kmart a few miles away in a move they say was meant to avoid the masses of counter-protesters who had assembled downtown.
In front of a crowd of 50-100 people, Proud Boy organizer Tusitala “Tiny” Toese and other speakers touched on subjects ranging from media, to religion, to transgender rights, to Toese’s “Samoan” way to open a beer.
Randy Ireland, president of the Hell’s Gate Bridge chapter of the Proud Boys, condemned the prosecution and incarceration of January 6 defendants.
“Our next rally is going to be September 18th, in Washington DC, right where it all started at the Capitol building,” Ireland said before announcing that Micki Witthoeft – the mother of Ashli Babbitt – would be in attendance.
Proud Boys hung a “Free our political prisoners” banner from the awning of the abandoned Kmart.
At the fringes of the parking lot, a handful of counter-protestors argued with event attendees, the initial conversations remaining subdued. In spite of the distance between the rescheduled events, a larger Antifa presence eventually descended upon the Kmart.
Approximately an hour into the event, a white van crashed into the edge of the parking lot, sparking a clash between the Proud Boys and Antifa members clad in “Black Bloc” attire.
The groups exchanged paint-based munitions, fireworks, and mace at each other as the fighting spilled into the traffic of 122nd Avenue. Many were injured in the resulting chaos.
Independent journalist Maranie Staab (a News2Share contributor) was assaulted by an Antifa member after approaching the group, and other journalists and civilians suffered collateral damage.
“Get the fuck out kutta. You fucking endangered people by flying to fucking Colombia and endangering everyone by opening them up to COVID, you little slut,” one man in black bloc told Staab before the antifascist activists shoved her to the ground, destroyed her phone and camera, and doused her with mace and paint.
As photojournalists documented the engagement, Proud Boys members pushed Antifa fighters back to a school parking lot, where Proud Boys surrounded a man in a truck carrying water and snacks for counter-protesters.
The group smashed the windows and fired mace and paintballs at the driver, who tried to protect his head.
“Get the fuck out of here, bitch” a Proud Boy said as he pushed the man fleeing on foot.
Towards the end of the skirmish, a paint-drenched Toese turned to the assembled videographers and spoke out while beginning to cry.
The right-wing activists then returned to the Kmart lot, where several flipped over crashed van on Toese’s command and shot it with additional paintballs.
“Flip this motherfucker over so they don’t get to drive this bitch,” Toese commanded.
Local police were completely absent during the clashes.
Prior to the event, Portland PD, citing a lack of manpower, said they had no plans to intervene should the event turn violent. Police Chief Chuck Lovell said before Sunday’s events that people should “stay apart” and “choose to avoid violent physical confrontations.”
Violence was the defining aspect of the day’s events however, and Portland PD stated they had mobilized forces to potentially take action or make arrests after the fact.
After the major fighting had subsided, an additional gun battle, with live bullets, broke out downtown.
A man firing a pistol at Antifa was eventually apprehended by Portland PD. No injuries or fatalities were reported.