(UPI) — Demonstrators supporting President Donald Trump and counterprotesters clashed in Portland, Ore., leading to 14 arrests, police said.
Hundreds of people in a five-block area of downtown Portland, assembled for a “Trump Free Speech” rally on Sunday. They were outnumbered by several groups of counterprotesters lining the perimeter of the event. Police kept the opposing demonstrators separated as the counterdemonstrators shouted anti-hate messages and taunted Trump supporters.
Police made arrests and used stun grenades and pepper spray to disperse the protesters after glass bottles and bricks were thrown.
Three of those arrested received citations from federal officers, the Portland Police Department reported. The other 11 face charges of disorderly conduct, harassment, carrying a concealed weapon and interfering with a peace officer. CNN said its reporters at the site noted that most of the arrests were made in the area where counterdemonstrators were located.
The free speech rally, sponsored by a group named Patriot Prayer, came days after two people were stabbed to death in Portland as they attempted to protect two girls, one of whom was wearing a hijab, from what police called hate speech by murder suspect Jeremy Christian.
The conflict Sunday was preceded by animosity on online forums of the groups. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler called on federal authorities to revoke the permit of the rally’s sponsors for safety reasons; the site of the rally, Terry D. Schrunk Plaza, is federal property where weapons are barred. Federal officials, citing no legal basis to revoke the permit, allowed the rally.
Event organizer Joey Gibson urged participants in the pro-Trump rally to be civil, and distanced the supporters from Christian’s actions last week. Speakers called the federal government corrupt while supporting Trump, conservatism and Christianity, the Oregonian reported Monday.
Police Sgt. Peter Simpson credited the intentional separation of the two opposed camps for minimal incidents of violence.
“We were successful in that we had a lot of people that really didn’t get along with each other, at least philosophically, and we were able to keep the groups separated for the most part,” Simpson said.
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