August 25, 2021
From It's Going Down

Report from Idavox on the recent antifascist mobilization in so-called Portland, Oregon against the Proud Boys and other neo-fascist groups.

The right wing rally was supposed to be held along the waterfront downtown where they had held rallies before. Instead, they were regulated to the parking lot of a shuttered Kmart ten miles away in another part of town while hundreds of antifascists gathered where they wanted to stand, and while they called it a “Summer of Love” rally, the assembled Proud Boys, Three Percenters and other associated groups showed nothing of the sort as they attacked and assaulted anyone who came out to their rally to counter-protest them, with the most prominent among them literally crying about police not coming to save them.

Prior to Sunday’s rally a call went out from local antifascists for support against the rally that was being organized for several months at that point. Meanwhile, Mayor Ted Wheeler and the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) announced a “hands-off” from police that meant they would not get involved in protecting rally attendees. “We are dedicated to keeping the peace. Our ask is simple: We are asking you to choose love,” Mayor Wheeler, who has been accused of letting right wing groups such as Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer regularly come from towns such as Vancouver, Washington and attack people in the streets, said during a press conference. “People should not necessarily expect to see the police standing in the middle of the crowd trying to keep people apart. People need to keep themselves apart and avoid physical confrontation.”

Later, right wing rally organizers were forced to move from the waterfront when their permit was revoked. They did not announce where their new location was until hours beforehand, and it is not know if the property owners were aware or approved of the rally being held in their parking lot. A number of well-known neo-fascist activists were seen there, and later, an Amazon box with the Vancouver, WA mailing address for Kevin Whitt was found. Someone with the same name is known as a former drag queen from Texas who made a name for himself there as a anti-transgender activist known for harassing transgendered people. A onetime staffer for the Texas Republican Party, Whitt was fired when they learned he was sharing videos of himself outside the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection. He also has videos of himself dated mid-December, which was when another right wing rally in Washington, D.C. was being held, harassing a woman inside the Comet Ping Pong Pizzeria, which has been at the center of the debunked Pizzagate conspiracy theory. Whitt frequently associates with the Proud Boys.

Antifa maintained a huge presence at their original location, and although it remained mostly peaceful at one point there was gunplay when a person, who is alleged to have been using a racial slur against a Black man in a group began to fire upon some antifa who fired back. Dennis G. Anderson of Grisham, OR was arrested and charged with Unlawful Possession of a Weapon and Unlawful Use of a Weapon. The most significant and talked about confrontation however, happened when about fifty antifascists left the waterfront to counter-protest the right wing rally. A brawl ensued, with Proud Boys shooting paintballs and attacking anyone they saw as hostile to them, including reporters and even a street preacher who ironically earlier in the say was chased away by antifa at the waterfront.

Proud Boys were seen in video turning over a van that they and some right wing propagandists such as Andy Ngo, who although is from Portland was not seen at the rally, allege was used in a vehicular assault. Others have said the van was actually stopped and attacked by Proud Boys causing the driver to crash when he tried to back up, as evidenced in videos where you can hear the beeping indicating the van was in reverse. The driver was pulled out of the van, which reportedly was a rented medical vehicle, and assaulted by the group.

Among those participating in the fighting was Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, 25,  who in January, 2020 pleaded guilty to assault charges after he punched an anti-fascist protester in 2018. Multnomah County Circuit Judge Kathleen Dailey sentenced Toese to two years of probation with the condition that he wasn’t allowed to participate in mass demonstrations or protests during the probationary term, but was sent back to jail in October after it was learned he violated his release agreement when he not only participated in an Aug. 23 rally in the county, but failed to report to his probation officer and left his home state of Washington without permission. He was released two months later and within weeks on Jan. 6, he was a part of a group that stormed the Washington State Governor’s mansion in Olympia.

Toese, who gave a speech during the rally where he said he will assault anyone he deems not to be a woman should they go into a women’s bathroom, was seen rather run down covered in white liquid after fighting and angrily denounced the police for not protecting them. “To all those cops out there at the moment, you put that, fucking duty down and stand down because of the orders from a tyrant?” he said with tears in his eyes in reference to Mayor Wheeler. “You’re a disgrace to that fucking patch! Throw it down and fucking walk out. Because we’re sick and tired and I know days from now I might be arrested.”

The Proud Boys have been on the ropes since the Jan. 6 insurrection that eventually saw over thirty members arrested for their roles there, most of them in leadership. Sunday’s rally came one day before Proud Boy leader Henry “Enrique” Tarrio was sentenced to more than five months in jail for burning a church’s Black Lives Matter banner in December and bringing high-capacity rifle magazines to Washington, DC, the day before the US Capitol insurrection. They are planning another rally on Sept. 18 in Washington, DC.

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