Members of the right-wing Proud Boys militia and the left-wing Antifa, commonly referred to as anti-fascists, clashed at a protest in downtown Portland on Saturday, Portland Tribune noted.
The altercation occurred at Tom McCall Waterfront Park during a religious rally hosted by Pastor Artur Pawlowski.
Pawlowski is a divisive Canadian clergyman known for his impromptu street preaching. He has previously claimed that the flooding in Canada came from God’s dissatisfaction with homosexuality and called the police officers who apply COVID-19 “Nazi” security laws.
In June it was guilty in contempt of court for organizing large unmasked gatherings for religious services in Calgary and denying access to health officials.
According to the Portland Tribune, around 50 people attended Pawlowski’s event, with members of the Proud Boys providing security for the event. The religious ceremony lasted around 90 minutes before the two sides began to face each other.
Video shows black-clad Antifa protesters with shields disrupting the event by throwing smoke grenades and grabbing the group’s speakers in an apparent attempt to turn off the public address system.
The Portland Tribune said the Proud Boys equipped with paintball guns, batons and other weapons marched to their announced meeting location in retaliation, sporting their signature black and yellow colors and PB emblem.
Before colliding and exchanging paintballs and pepper spray, the two groups can be seen arguing. According to local press, the Proud Boys have been kicked out of the park.
The fights resumed in the street around the block. In the background, police sirens are heard, but no arrests have been made.
Wade Varner, a 64-year-old Navy veteran who served on the USS Fulton, told the Portland Tribune that the Nazis had come out and repelled the group, he was walking through the park with his dog when he decided to get involved.
“I’m sitting here, totally unarmed, in a wheelchair, and this f-ker shoots me in the face with a paintball.”
Antifa had warned to start fighting and do what they are doing, and then they came and did, one participant said. The same participant added that the cops were not far away, laughing in their patrol cars and going about their business.
Antifa attacked a Christian meeting, right-wing experts said. In contrast, left-wing commentators said it was a protest against a political event.
Antifa attempted “to assault and shut down a family Christian prayer and worship session on the waterfront,” Andy Ngo, a far-right commentator, said on Twitter.
Portland’s Reverend Chuck Currie responded with writing, âA Christian minister in Portland here. This was not aâ Christian family prayer event. âA MAGA congressman from California planned the far-right political rally. “