Thursday, August 26, 2021

Portland Gunfight Fuels Alarm Over Growing Use Of Weapons At Rallies

Portland gunfight fuels alarm over growing use of weapons at rallies

A gunfight in Portland, Oregon, last week is intensifying concerns over escalating violence during contentious rallies in the city, as far-right demonstrators and anti-fascist counter-protesters have repeatedly faced off. The Portland police bureau charged a 65-year-old man from Gresham, Oregon, over a gunfight in the city’s downtown during violent clashes on Sunday. Authorities say Dennis Anderson drew a concealed handgun and shot at a group of anti-fascists who were trying to expel him from the area. At least one of the anti-fascists shot back, according to authorities, with seven shots exchanged between the two sides. Proud Boys and members of other far-right groups regularly open-carry handguns during protest, and the shootout fueled the growing concern about the presence of firearms at rallies taking place across the US. But other violent incidents in Portland on Sunday showed how participants have also increasingly adopted less lethal, but still dangerous, technologies as weapons for political street fighting. On Sunday afternoon, about 200 Proud Boys and members of other far-right groups clashed with a smaller group of anti-fascists near an abandoned Kmart in the city’s outer north-east. The confrontation became a running street battle, with participants fist-fighting and attacking each other with pepper spray. The two camps also resorted to other tactics they had deployed during previous demonstrations. Anti-fascists threw fireworks, repeating a tactic that some leftwing protesters have long used in contentious events in Portland and beyond. Similar munitions were used in several confrontations with police during Portland’s long string of protests last summer, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. At one point on Sunday, a firework thrown by an anti-fascist exploded in the forecourt of a gas station, raising alarm on all sides of the confrontation. Some Proud Boys, on the other hand, were carrying airsoft guns, replica firearms that fire pellets with compressed air and are usually used in recreational combat games or combat training. Source

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