An Up-close Experience of a Neo-Nazi Rally in Downtown Portland

By Noah Wali

On October 13th, two Saturdays ago, a Neo-Nazi rally took place in downtown Portland in which Matthew Li, Asa Brown, Jonah Song and I happened to stumble upon during a lovely night in the town.

While fooling around in the streets of Portland, we discovered multiple flyers mentioning the possibility of a dangerous rally beginning at 6 pm at Pioneer Square. The flyer read something like this: “Neo-Nazi Rally tonight, these are known to be very violent. Try to stay off the streets.” Considering the fact that we were two blocks away from Pioneer Square, the time was 5:51 P.M, and that we love getting ourselves into dangerous situations, we decided to make our way over to the event, cameras in hand.

We arrived at the scene to find people of all different races, ages, and genders. The main proponents of the rally seemed to be Trump supporters, most of whom were sporting “Make America Great Again” apparel, but we did not notice anything negative whatsoever. The scene was anxious and tense more than anything else: People felt the need to check behind their backs, and if someone was to look at them they would begin to feel very uncomfortable. It didn’t feel natural, and I believe it was for a reason. Later on in the night, things got violent.

Though my friends and I were not present, a video of the clash can be seen here (click here) (Per Willamette Week). The people who instigated the rally kept things calm at the beginning and told the public little to no information about the purpose of the rally. I only learned afterward that the purpose of the rally was supposedly “to protest Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and his oversight of the city’s police force” (The Oregonian). Although no serious injuries occurred, I was interested to know how a group of Right-Wing extremists could portray a neutral image and then later that night participate in a brawl with Left-Wing extremists.

My friends and I decided we may begin to attend more rallies to gain more information and to understand the reasoning behind them, and what is accomplished during the rallies. Here are a couple of photos I took during the beginning stages of the rally:

Neo 1Neo 2Neo 3Neo 4Neo 5Neo 6Neo 7Neo 8

 

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