Far right groups gathered Sunday in Portland for an event they called the “Summer of Love,” even as the rally date was chosen to commemorate an extraordinarily violent clash last summer in the city. The event ended with a roving brawl along busy city streets in the Parkrose neighborhood, and shots being fired in downtown Portland. No one was reported injured in the shooting incident
Anti-fascists and far left demonstrators gathered downtown early in the day to oppose the far right gathering. The two sides eventually clashed in Northeast Portland after remaining separate for hours, leaving a spree of violence that stretched blocks.
After the violence ended in Northeast Portland, an unidentified man fired a handgun at what appeared to be a group of anti-fascists downtown. Portland police moved in and arrested the man. Information was not immediately available on what led to the shooting.
Early in the day, organizers of the far right event announced they were moving their rally from Waterfront Park in downtown to a commercial parking lot in Northeast Portland. Hundreds of people with the anti-fascist group congregated at Waterfront Park, despite the relocation.
Far right activists, meanwhile, set up a stage on a small trailer in the commercial parking lot along Northeast 122nd Avenue.
Photos and videos streamed online showed members of the Proud Boys — a frequently violent far right group — gathering and speaking at the conservative event. Among them was Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, who has been convicted of engaging in violence at protests.
“We’re not going to stand down,” Toese said. He added that his group was “not playing this time,” but said they did not have plans to leave the Northeast Portland location Sunday.
Various speakers on the Proud Boy stage referred to people charged in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol as “political prisoners.” As the demonstration continued, anti-fascists who had been at Waterfront Park began to gather outside the Proud Boys event.
Throughout the day, members of each side exchanged words and debated each other, but no notable violence had taken place for the first few hours of the gatherings. That changed just after 4 p.m., as the Proud Boys and anti-fascists ran along 122nd Avenue, exchanging paint balls and bear mace. Some people in the crowd threw mortar fireworks near a Chevron gas station, which had to close.
Members of the antifascist crowd shouted at local journalists who were following the melee. They then sprayed chemicals and paint at the journalists, and one local freelance photographer was attacked and injured.
Portland police did not show up as the two sides clashed.
Witnesses said the violence began when a white van attempted to pull into the parking lot where the “Summer of Love” event was taking place. Members of the…