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Four arrested at dueling protests near Oregon Capitol

One person was detained and released by police after pulling out a handgun, but police said that person was assaulted and did not point the gun at anyone.
Credit: KGW

SALEM, Ore. — Ideologically opposed groups staged a protest and counter-protest in Salem on Sunday.

Multiple observers at the protests recorded confrontations between the two groups, including damage being done to demonstrators' vehicles.

According to a release from the Salem Police Department, the first event was called a Freedom Rally, organized by a right-wing group, and the second event was called Fascist Free 503, an anti-fascist counter-protest.

Before 12 p.m., approximately 100 people dressed in black with ballistic vests, carrying firearms, bats, skateboards, umbrellas, shields and gas masks, had congregated at the Capitol and on Court Street, according to Salem police.

People in the group on Court Street reportedly targeted some vehicles driving by and damaged them by throwing rocks and other things at them.

Court Street was closed, in part to stop the Freedom Rally caravan from entering the area, Salem police said. Right-wing protesters were diverted away from the area.

Meanwhile, the left-wing group on Court Street was declared an unlawful assembly. Police said they dispersed after being told to move.

Three arrests were made. During the arrest of two people, Salem police said its officers used less-than-lethal rounds in apprehending the suspects.

The following people were arrested and lodged at the Marion County jail:

  • Andrew Alan Foy, 34: Disorderly conduct in the second degree and criminal trespass in the second degree
  • Nathan McFarland, 33: Disorderly conduct in the second degree
  • Anthony Villaneda, 18: Unlawful pointing of a laser, five counts
  • William Lloyd Isham, 34: Interfering with Police Officer

Oregon State Police (OSP) said a man who was seen pulling out a handgun during Sunday's events was the victim of an assault. The man, OSP said, was looking at damage done to his vehicle when he was assaulted with pepper spray. That's when he pulled out a gun. Police said he did not point it at anyone and dropped it when he was ordered to do so. The man had a valid concealed handgun permit. He was detained, interviewed and later released.

Anyone with information related to these incidents or any other criminal acts which took place on Sunday, March 28, are encouraged to contact the Salem Police Department tips line at 503-588-8477.

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