PORTLAND, Ore. -- The city of Portland is bracing for at least nine anti-Trump demonstrations, rallies and marches between Thursday morning and Saturday afternoon.
The largest of which, Saturday’s Women’s March on Portland, is set to draw 35,000 people to the city’s downtown core.
On Wednesday afternoon Mayor Ted Wheeler, Police Chief Mike Marshman, members of the Portland Business Alliance and organizers of the Women’s March held a news conference at City Hall to lay out their expectations for the upcoming protests.
“We are a community that will speak our minds. We will stand up against racism and sexism and homophobia and xenophobia. We will continue to be an open and welcoming community, regardless of who you are or what your immigration status is,” said Mayor Wheeler. “But we're going to draw some hard lines when it comes to protecting personal properties and fighting against violence.”
Wheeler then referred back a series of anti-Trump protests, turned violent riots back in November, during which demonstrators smashed windows and windshields, spray painted city property, threw objects at police and, a couple occasions, attacked members of the media.
On the Saturday following Election Day, a man was shot in the middle of one such protest as it made its way across the Morrison Bridge.
Chief Mike Marshman Thursday said this time crowds won’t be given nearly as much leeway as they were last year.
Anyone who tries to take to the freeways, he said, will be arrested, as will anyone who damages property.
He added pepper spray and other crowd control measures have not been ruled out as resources heading into the weekend’s events.
“The random acts of vandalism, potential personal injury… honestly, when that happens, that takes away the message, as an example, from the Women's March on Saturday. You're not going to see that much in the news,” said Chief Marshman.
One of the nine demonstrations planned for the next few days includes a rally at Pioneer Square, organized by members of Portland’s Resistance, the same group who organized the now-infamous November protests.
Other protests are planned for Northeast Portland's Holladay Park, Southeast Portland's Mt. Tabor Park, North Portland's Columbia Park, and the East 162nd Avenue MAX Station, according to police.
On Thursday, heads of Saturday’s Women’s March on Portland, which is set to bring 35,000 people downtown, say they know they have a responsibility to keep the peace.
“We do need to learn how to self-police,” said Erica Fuller. “We know what is right and what is wrong, and we will not stand for that. So as an organization pushing for a peaceful protest, we will also self-police our own people as well.”
Police on Thursday said of all the events set for this week, organizers of the Women's March are the only ones who have applied for a protest permit or reached out to the city ahead of time.
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