Alt-right rally moves from Portland to Seattle

KING 5's Elisa Hahn reports.

An alt-right group canceled a rally in Portland for June 10 after its mayor accuses it of hate speech and re-opening the emotional wounds from a fatal hate-crime last Friday.

Now demonstrators for the ACT for America event are heading to a rally in Seattle instead.

A month ago in Westlake Park, a self-proclaimed pro-USA group held a rally on May Day. Now many of the same participants plan to return next week.

"You can't stop free speech," said Tiny Toese of Vancouver, Wash.

Toese and John Beavers, of Belfair, were originally heading to Portland on June 10 for what is being called a nationwide "March against Sharia," or Islamic law.

But Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler spoke against the event in the wake of a vicious hate crime.

Two men were fatally stabbed Friday and a third man was injured after they came to the defense of two women riders taking light rail. One was wearing hijab, the traditional Muslim headdress.

"I'm reminded constantly they have a First Amendment right to speak, but my pushback on that is hate speech is not protected," said Mayor Wheeler.

Jeremy Christian, the man under arrest for the attack, had frequented other alt-right group events. 

But Beavers and Toese shared video of them kicking Christian out of their rally.

"The gentleman that did this came to our rally, and we ended up escorting him out, making everyone know he's not with us. He's full of hate. He's everything we're not for," said Beavers.

With the Portland event canceled, they plan on heading to a similar event in Seattle.

Anthony Parish, a Kent man who is a member of ACT for America, is organizing the event. He insisted he is not anti-Muslim, just against some of the teachings of Islam. He said the Portland mayor is against free speech.

"I think the mayor is going to try to use any type of incident he can to try and put a stop to what we're doing," said Parish. "It's totally uncalled for."

Parrish was applying for a permit for the Seattle rally, and he had not yet heard back from the city on whether it will grant the permit.

The city said it would likely be categorized as a free speech event, and that the only reason it would not grant the permit is if there is a conflicting event in Westlake Park.

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© 2017 KING-TV


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