Portland braces for possible violence at far-right rally
Portland, Oregon — The serenity of downtown Portland will beon Saturday afternoon. Stores are already closing on the eve of expected dueling protests between groups of right-wing extremists and anti-fascist demonstrators.
In recent years, Portland has become a magnet for protests, some of them turning ugly. Several groups from the far-left and far-right said they will converge in the city’s downtown. Police said its nearly 1,000 member force will be on duty.
“We recognize these events can cause alarm, anxiety and even fear for certain members of our community,” said Lieutenant Tina Jones.
A riot in 2017 shattered store windows throughout downtown, leading to 25 arrests. Residents said they’ve grown weary of the street battles.
“It’s sad to me because I think that a lot of people that come here to protest don’t actually live here or share a lot of values that I believe Portland stands for,” said resident Drew Edwards.
Police aren’t sure which groups will show up, what they’ll be protesting about, and if they’re only coming to cause trouble.
“We have seen a shift in the last few weeks in the rhetoric, and a separation of those who want to engage in free speech and those who intend to participate in acts of violence,” Jones said.
Some business owners said they hope to stay open on Saturday. Meanwhile, the FBI will be on scene out of an abundance of caution.
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