Aug. 17 (UPI) — What some billed as a possible major confrontation between right-wing activists and those opposing them in Portland, Ore. Saturday afternoon that caught the attention of President Donald Trump, ended with no major skirmishes.
The alt-right group Proud Boys and several other right-wing organizations held a rally at Waterfront Park in downtown Portland before leaving just after noon. Hundreds of Proud Boys activists and supporters attended the event that many feared would turn violent.
Police, which kept the groups separated, said they made only three arrests as of 1 p.m. as the crowds dispersed. Authorities said they also seized some weapons at the protest sites. Alt-right protesters carried American flags and yelled “USA” chants as they crossed the Morrison Bridge to the park, KATU-TV reported.
Trump called out Antifa, that loosely-organized left-wing group that often shows up to oppose such alt-right rallies in a Twitter post Saturday.
“Major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an ‘ORGANIZATION OF TERROR,'” Trump said in the tweet. “Portland is being watched very closely. Hopefully, the Mayor will be able to properly do his job!”
Saturday’s alt-right rally organizer Joe Biggs said he felt his side had already won because of Trump’s tweet.
“Go look at President Trump’s Twitter,” Biggs, a former InfoWars staffer, told The Oregonian newspaper. “He talked about Portland, said he’s watching Antifa. That’s all we wanted. We wanted national attention, and we got it. Mission success.”
Rev. E.D. Mondaine, president of the Portland Branch NAACP, led some counter-protesters and antifascist groups in song, opposing ProudBoys in an effort to keep the peace.
Left-leaning Pop Mob leader Effie Baum, who organized the counter-protest, said if the Proud Boys return to Portland, her group will continue to confront them again.
“We built a very diverse coalition of people who turned out to say that hate is not welcome here,” Baum said. “When (the Proud Boys) come back, there will be even more of us.”