Originally posted at RefuseFascism.org:

Standing Against Fascists in Portland, and the Urgent Need to Drive the Trump/Pence Regime from Power

June 7, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us



From a Refuse Fascism organizer:

About 2,000 people courageously protested a fascist rally of 200 near City Hall in Portland, Oregon on Sunday, June 4. A group called “Patriot Prayer” called the fascist rally—in the wake of and to celebrate the murder of Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche and the wounding of Micah David-Cole Fletcher by white supremacist Jeremy Christian.

It took courage and heart for people to come out for the counter-protest. Everyone who came to oppose the fascists did so in spite of calls by government officials and local media to stay home. The mayor of Portland denied the fascist rally a park permit, but the federal government stepped in and granted a permit on the basis of the park being on federal land. The Department of Homeland Security was sent in to enforce the permit.

Protesters from many different political perspectives, new and veteran, surrounded the fascist rally on three sides, separated by lines of police and other security forces. A “Portland Stands United Against Hate” rally with over 70 co-sponsors was held in front of City Hall, while anarchists, antifascists, and other protesters lined neighboring parks and streets with banners and signs. A team from Refuse Fascism traveled from other northwest locations to join with this righteous outpouring and to struggle to unite people around the demand to Drive Out the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime.

Groups from the fascist rally, carrying U.S. and Confederate flags, took turns coming to the street to wave their flags and jeer at the United Against Hate rally. They had signs reading “BLM are Racist Thugs” (referring to the Black Lives Matter movement), and “Diversity is Code for White Genocide.” In response, many people formed a deep line facing outward towards the fascists, protecting the United Against Hate rally.

Police Protect the Fascists

Hundreds of Portland police gathered in their trademark sinister black uniforms and put on an overpowering display of brute force in protection of these fascists. They harassed people gathering in the area by broadcasting directives with piercing LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device) equipment that can be used to inflict pain with sound waves. They rode standing and clustered in gangs together on the outside of special vehicles, ready to jump off and attack people.

They wouldn’t allow counter-protesters the use of lightweight plastic sticks to carry banners, saying they were potential weapons, while the fascists strutted around with metal poles to carry their flags on. At all times the police faced outward from the fascist rally, grasping clubs and other weapons, directing a constant threat of violence towards the counter-protesters. The Portland police were joined by the Department of Homeland Security, Oregon State police, fascist paramilitary police such as from the Oath Keepers, and many other police forces.

After hours of spirited peaceful protest against the fascists, the police conducted an unprovoked attack on an antifa (antifascist) rally with explosives, chemical spray, rubber bullets, and clubs. Suddenly police LRAD loudspeakers could be heard saying the park was closed due to “criminal activity.” Then hundreds of police charged in a massive attack which rolled over people like a wave. One reporter said that police fired rubber bullets into a group of protesters holding a banner reading, “Mourn the Dead.” The noise of the LRAD commands and the continuous explosions of “flash-bang” grenades echoed through the streets, warning all the rest of the people present what could be in store for them. People including reporters were kenneled in, had their identification photographed, and 14 were arrested. The Portland Police Bureau published the names and photographs of those arrested on their Facebook page, encouraging more fascist violence. These names and faces are now being spread on fascist social media.

The main United Against Hate rally, which was coming to an end already, concluded after the police attack. But the fascists, emboldened by the police repression supporting them, were allowed to continue their rally. Scores of counter-demonstrators, including some who withstood the police attack, did not leave either.

Throughout the day’s events, Refuse Fascism displayed a big “NO! Drive Out the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime!” banner. They got out flyers of the Refuse Fascism Call to Action and “NO!” stickers, letting people know that there’s a plan to drive the Trump/Pence Regime from power at RefuseFascism.org, and that that is what’s necessary to stop fascist attacks and stop Trump’s fascist base from growing and spreading. People were very responsive to Refuse Fascism supporters, saying “Drive out the fascists in Portland, drive out the fascists in the White House!” Refuse Fascism reported from the scene via Facebook live video on the RefuseFascism.org page, and the video has now been viewed by thousands. After the police attack, a Refuse Fascism organizer spoke over a bullhorn and told people to “Live like the Portland Heroes,” and what our demand needs to be in order to stop and reverse this whole trajectory—that the most dangerous fascists are in the White House and they must be driven out. The response was very good, with many people thanking her for speaking and eagerly reaching out for flyers about the Refuse Fascism Summer of Struggle.

As Sunsara Taylor said in her June 2 statement on the Refuse Fascism website, “The truth is, if everyone who opposes the crimes of the Trump/Pence Regime and its supporters stood up like these Portland Heroes did—acting on what you know is right even in the face of danger and risk—we could STOP this Regime and its crimes. We could DRIVE IT FROM POWER. We could stop a fascist America. That is worth fighting for. It is worth dying for. Not just for ourselves, but in the name of humanity.”



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