On the afternoon of March 28, in Oregon, a “heavily armed” group of Antifa rioted in the vicinity of the Capitol, where right-wing groups organized a demonstration. Members of the far-left group claimed they were there to demonstrate against a “fascist” event.
Because the Antifa members arrived earlier, some people believed that the right-wing groups formed a counter-demonstration, but, as local media outlet Oregon Live reports, it was the Antifa movement that decided to gather where the patriots had organized the rally.
“The right-wing protesters initially gathered in Sandy for a “Rally for Freedom” with plans to travel to the Capitol. A flyer for the event said they planned a “flag-waving to honor those who fought for our freedoms,”” the media outlet reported. “The plans attracted more than 150 left-wing counter-demonstrators, who arrived at the Capitol hours earlier, some carrying banners with symbols linked to the Antifa movement. They announced their gathering as a “direct action in opposition to a fascist event.””
The situation became tense when several vehicles of the right-wing protesters passed by the places where the Antifa rioters were. In videos that circulated on social media, collected mostly by independent journalists, it can be seen how Antifa members instigated the drivers provoking confrontations, in addition to damaging their cars.
One of the most viral incidents – which was used by several media to criticize right-wing groups – was when a man’s van was attacked with paint bombs and surrounded by members of Antifa. The owner of the vehicle, who was also assaulted with pepper spray, got out of the car noticeably upset to complain to the rioters and to threaten them with a pistol in a warning tone.
Police officers who witnessed the attack on the driver acted quickly to prevent the situation from escalating. They asked the man to get down on the ground and drop the gun. He was handcuffed and his truck searched. Subsequently, the agents let him leave in his vehicle.
Some Antifa counter-demonstrators, upset by the police officers’ actions, shouted at them that if the person had been “black he would be dead”; referring to the fact that they did not act with sufficient force when he drew his weapon because he was white.
Jack Posobiec left a series of three videos on his Twitter account showing what happened:
Although Antifa’s instigation of the right-wing groups’ vehicles was notorious, local Oregon media, such as Oregon Public Broadcasting, chose to highlight only the videos where the right-wing groups responded to the aggressions.
In one of the videos, the van of one of the protesters was driving down the street where dozens of Antifa counter-demonstrators were gathered. As members of the group were in the middle of the street, ready to surround the vehicle and throw objects, the driver started the van quickly to scare off the rioters. But the man had to slow down to avoid hitting a member of Antifa.
Other videos, captured by independent journalists, show Antifa members throwing objects at vehicles passing through the area. Police reported that the counter-demonstrators even threw a large wooden log against the front window of a car.
The police won’t tolerate more Antifa riots
Reports stated that police arrested three Antifa counter-protesters on different charges.
Oregon Live said those arrested were “A 34-year-old man faced charges of disorderly conduct and trespassing. A 33-year-old man was charged with disorderly conduct. An 18-year-old man was charged with five counts of ‘unlawfully pointing a laser.'”
Salem police had to declare the Antifa counter-demonstration illegal and dispersed both groups from the scene, using non-lethal firearms, they reported. Police also left a warning about the events that occurred over the weekend: “Causing bodily harm to others, property damage or intentionally blocking streets are unacceptable situations that will be addressed to ensure better community safety.”