Direct Action Alliance and Empower Portland will hold an anti-police brutality rally in Chapman Square this Sunday, beginning at 2 p.m.
Protests are scheduled for Sunday in downtown Portland, marking what could become the first large street protest of the spring.
The rallies are likely to draw hundreds to a pair of parks near City Hall, organizers said, including black-clad antifascists, known as Antifa, and their right-wing antagonists in “Make America Great Again” hats.
“It all could go down within a few blocks from the family-friendly Rose Festival taking place on the waterfront throughout the weekend,” reports Portland News.
The showdown comes a year after thousands converged to protest a pro-President Donald Trump rally thrown shortly after a fatal stabbing aboard a MAX train left the city reeling from the racially motivated attack.
The chaotic scene on June 4, 2017, was further inflamed by Portland police, which corralled and detained hundreds of demonstrators by using a controversial tactic known as “kettling.”
With tensions tempered, organizers anticipate fewer participants than last year and elevated conflict.
“We’re coming with a peaceful message,” said Jenny Nickolaus, an organizer with Direct Action Alliance and Empower Portland.
The two organizations will hold an anti-police brutality rally in Chapman Square beginning at 2 p.m.
The event aims to draw attention to the Portland Police Bureau’s response to last year’s demonstrations, which an independent auditor criticized in a report this week as having no legal justification.
Afterward, left-leaning activists plan to spill across the street to Terry Schrunk Plaza in anticipation of members of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer, who have planned a 5 p.m. follow-up to its Trump rally last June.
Joey Gibson, a Patriot Prayer leader, has billed the gathering as a “freedom march” to celebrate group member Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, who is moving away from the Pacific Northwest.
Toese, who is 6-foot-3 and more than 300 pounds, has regularly brawled with antifascist activists at rallies and was arrested twice by police in Portland last year during protests.
Previous Patriot Prayer rallies in Portland have also been criticized for attracting members of the far-right fringe. They have included outspoken anti-Semites and Islamophobes, white nationalists, and neo-Nazis.
“We will not allow racists and fascists to parade through Portland’s streets, threatening activists and targeting at-risk communities,” wrote the organizers for the counter-protest, which include Rose City Antifa, a prominent anti-fascist group in Portland.
Portland police said they are prepared for Sunday, though they concede the challenge they face with Rose Festival happening simultaneously.
“The bureau is going to be spread thin,” said Sgt. Chris Burley, a Portland police spokesman. “It’s a real strain on the limited resources we do have.”
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