Conservative march, counter protest forms in wake of canceled parade

'March for Free Speech' gathers at Montavilla Park

UPDATE: The Portland Police Bureau reported on Twitter that three people were arrested in the wake of Saturday's marches.

Zoe McClain, 19, was arrested at Montavilla Park and charged with two counts of Assaulting a Public Safety Officer.

Shayne Sellers, 23, was arrested at the park for Criminal Mischief II and two counts of Theft III.

Earlier in the day, Luis Marquez, 44, was arrested for Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree and Harassment. He was wearing a pumpkin suit at the time, police tweeted.
 

PORTLAND, Ore. – Clashes over politics, once again, sparked protests plagued by multiple fights and arrests Saturday morning.

This time, though, the demonstrations acted as unofficial replacements for a traditionally non-partisan event, the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade.

Organizers announced Tuesday the parade, planned for Saturday, would be canceled after they received emails threatening to disrupt the event.

The sender, apparently speaking for anarchists and other repeat protesters in Portland, wrote they were angry about unfounded rumors that Nazis were planning to march with local members of the Republican Party.

Background: 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade canceled due to threats

Soon after the parade was canceled, Joey Gibson and other local conservatives organized a replacement march, called it the “March for Free Speech”.

“The mission is to promote freedom, free speech  and to basically go through these liberal areas and have a right to just speak and show what we believe in,” he said.

The event kicked off at 10 a.m. at Montavilla Park. 

From the beginning, Portland police were on hand, keeping Gibson’s group separate from about 60 counter-protesters.

G.H. Oliver brought his 6-year-old daughter to the counter-protest, to “stand up for minorities.”

“I see these Trump flags with these American flags,” he said. “That's a contradiction in and of itself. That American flag doesn't stand for closing the borders. That flag stands for all of us that came here.”

As he spoke, speeches began among the conservative crowd. About half a dozen counter-protesters ran up to the fence with foghorns, using them to drown out the speakers.

Watch: Heated debate at 'March for Free Speech'

Patti Brewer, who came to support the March for Free Speech, said she was sad to learn counter-protesters believed everyone at the event identified with extreme, white supremacist views.

“None of us out here are Nazis,” she said. “I mean that's just crazy to even think that.”

Marchers took off from the park around 10:45 a.m., both groups walking in lock-step.

Photos: 'March for Free Speech', counter-protest on 82nd Avenue

Several dozen Portland police officers quickly arrived in riot gear, keeping the crowd off the road and marching south.

There were multiple fights and flare-ups and a few arrests.

One man, later identified as 44-year-old Luis Marquez, was arrested and charged with second-degree disorderly conduct and harassment.

The march lasted for two hours, covered more than two miles and no one appeared seriously hurt. One the march ended near Eastport Plaza, Portland police and TriMet provided buses to transport demonstrators and counter-protesters back to Montavilla Park.

Police tweeted after the march that two people were taken into custody at Montavilla Park. They were identified as 23-year-old Shayne Sellers and 19-year-old Zoe McClain. Sellers faces charges of criminal mischief and theft, and McClain was charged with assaulting a public safety officer.

Watch part of the morning's march:

© 2017 KGW-TV


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