The 82nd Avenue of Roses parade may have been cancelled after anonymous threats emailed to organizers, but on Saturday morning the political tension that might have been quieted by marching bands and cheering crowd was on full display in Montavilla Park.
At the "March for Free Speech," a crowd of right-wing protesters gathered on a fenced in Timbers practice field. They held Gadsden flags—a coiled snake declaring "Don't Tread on Me." Some wore helmets, saying they were fearful of violence from antifa protesters.
"You can't predict what these clown-people will do," says Chad Goldstein, who told WW he is a part of the "white nationalist organization called America."
Patriot Prayer vlogger Joey Gibson spoke on a bullhorn to a crowd as a small group of masked counter-protesters honked whistles and horns, drowning out Gibson as he spoke. Counter-protesters sat on inflatable inner tubes on the grass, many with faces covered. They declined to speak to reporters.
Mayor Ted Wheeler briefly visited the park, shook hands with several police officers, and exited in a Police Bureau SUV.
Just before 11 am, Gibson led his group onto the sidewalk, promising to walk the planned parade route. The group made it one block before a truck filed with riot cops sped up behind them.
Police separated the group from antifa counterprotesters, forcing them to march on separate sides of Southeast 82nd Avenue.