On Sept. 26, right-wing groups led by the Proud Boys held a rally in North Portland's Delta Park, partly in response to the death of a Trump supporter fatally shot by a self-identified anti-fascist in Portland. Dozens of local unions, civil rights groups and elected Democrats released statements denouncing the Proud Boys, while Portland Parks & Recreation denied a permit application for the rally, which estimated 20,000 would attend. In reality, less than 500 right-wing protesters gathered in Delta Park. The visitors were outnumbered by two counterprotests, where anti-fascists and Black Lives Matter supporters gathered to listen to speeches. Despite past violent confrontations between right-wing and left-wing groups in Portland, the two protests remained separate Saturday—and largely free of incident. Here's what our readers had to say:
@stardust_rouge via Twitter: "Hi, they don't give a fuck that you're sternly opposing this. Do something to protect your city."
ReasonableSkeptic via wweek.com: "They applied for a permit just so they could feign righteous outrage when they didn't get it. Don't fall for it."
Jake Minnie, via wweek.com: "Why do Portland leaders always have this reflexive action against any real and/or perceived (mainly perceived) threat of 'white supremacists'? Anyone with a brain can clearly see who is causing the damage and violence here in town, but only when the Proud Boys show up do they get on their soapboxes and act tough."
@treeesq via Twitter: "But the Portland police will welcome them with open arms. Tell us what you intend to do about that, besides writing a letter."
Amy Shipman via Facebook: "If they come, please, please ignore them. They want attention. They want conflict. Please don't give them the satisfaction."
@ChristopherGPDX via Twitter: "All the people in downtown Portland during the car parade weren't anywhere near where the rally was supposed to go, yet people still got maced and shot at by paintball guns in downtown. 'Just ignore them' is an insane thing to say about these groups."
Andrew Kaiser via Facebook: "I feel so torn about what to do with these clowns. On one hand, we do need to say loud and proud that their ideology is not who we are. On the other, their only goal is to be physical trolls, stir up trouble, and then to clutch their pearls as victims when people shout back at them. If they show up at a park to 'protest' (what exactly they are protesting, who the hell knows…) and there was nobody there to listen, they would get bored and go home. Yelling at liberals in the streets is how they feel empowered. It's how they feel like they are fighting for something. It makes them feel like brave soldiers when they aren't."
Mary Kolb via Facebook: "Wait, I thought the disputed permit said 10,000? Did like 9,700 of them cancel?"
@nfleck3 via Twitter: "If sports can't be played at Delta [Park], these groups shouldn't be allowed to gather there either."
Cindy Weaver Schaufenbuel via Facebook: "Well done, everybody, keeping it mostly peaceful. Except for the attacks on journalists, of course."
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