Portland Braces for Street Clash as Proud Boys and Antifascists Rally Their Troops for Waterfront Protests

“We’ve always had guns at the rally. Everyone should be carrying around guns at all times.”

Man pepper sprayed at Tom McCall Waterfront Park on Aug. 6, 2017. (Daniel Stindt)

Washington U.S. Senate candidate Joey Gibson is hosting a right-wing rally on the Portland waterfront Aug. 4, and Gibson has suggested his supporters in the group Patriot Prayer will bring guns.

"We've always had guns at the rally," Gibson said in a video on Facebook. "Everyone should be carrying around guns at all times."

Berk Nelson, a staffer for Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, tells WW the city cannot disregard the state's open carry law. "Unless he's on federal property, that's the only way we can actually take weapons away from anybody," Nelson says. "There's nothing police can do to take weapons away from lawful gun owners."

The last Patriot Prayer rally in downtown Portland led to a violent riot that sent five people to the hospital.

Perversely, the prospect of violence is likely to increase turnout.

A large coalition of antifascist protest groups, organizing under the name POPMOB, short for "popular mobilization," plan to confront Gibson and his far-right allies, a men's fraternity called the Proud Boys.

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