PORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Legislature’s Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) Caucus weighed in on a far-right rally planned for North Portland on Saturday, asking counter-protesters to just stay away due to the potential for extreme violence.
The far-right group Proud Boys announced they would hold the rally to "end domestic terrorism" from noon-3 p.m. at Delta Park. But Portland Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz said she denied the event permit because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Organizers estimated 20,000 people would attend the rally. The parks bureau won't approve a permit for more than 50 people.
Meanwhile several other groups have planned opposing rallies, both at Delta Park and nearby Peninsula Park.
The seven representatives and two senators that make up the BIPOC Caucus issued a joint statement Wednesday warning that the people attending the far-right rally will like be heavily armed and intent on committing violence.
"Let's not empower them with our presence," the lawmakers said.
"The Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer are here to bring violence and spread hate," the statement reads. "But we know their agenda and our community will not stand for violence or hate. We will not be intimidated or silenced, but we also will not allow these individuals to sow the chaos and destruction they so desperately seek.”
The caucus acknowledged the power and necessity of demonstrating peacefully against injustice. But they said violence of any kind at protests only gives hate groups more opportunities to cause turmoil.
"While we cannot control the actions of others, we can control what we choose to do ourselves."
Read the full statement (PDF)