Journalist Tim Gruver of The CenterSquare Oregon was threatened by Proud Boys and refused entrance to cowl the occasion. “Riverfront is a public park,” Gruver famous on Twitter. “Households are gathered proper subsequent door.”
A videographer who makes use of the nom de plume “Behind Enemy Strains” was additionally escorted out of the event by Proud Boys. “OK, gotta get you outta right here,” a masked Proud Boy may be seen telling him on video he printed. “Roll it up.” As he leaves, they make it clear that they imagine he “doxxed” (revealed the id of) a Proud Boy at a earlier occasion.
Promoted on-line as a “Might Day 2A Rally,” the occasion drew 100-200 attendees, according to reporters. They had been noticed carrying semi-automatic pistols or rifles. And regardless of the shortage of any authority to take action, they “closed” the general public park to media and compelled out anybody they believed didn’t belong, together with at the very least one aged man who was simply strolling by way of the park.
Oregon Proud Boys have deep connections to the Jan. 6 revolt, together with two brothers who were arrested for his or her roles within the Capitol siege. Furthermore, their participation within the invasion of the Oregon State Capitol in Salem on Dec. 21 was in some ways a strong precursor of the Jan. 6 occasion, particularly by way of the far proper’s antidemocratic methods.
The main scheduled speaker for the occasion was Rep. Mike Nearman, the Dalles-based state Home member who was seen on video opening a door to permit insurrectionists into the constructing on Dec. 21. Nearman has been charged with two misdemeanors—official misconduct within the first diploma and legal trespass within the second diploma—for that act.
Nonetheless, Nearman was a no-show. As a substitute, the best-known speaker Saturday was Jo Rae Perkins, the QAnon-loving Republican nominee for Oregon’s U.S. Senate seat in 2020. Perkins known as COVID-19 vaccines a “bioweapon,” repeated false “stolen election” claims, and claimed the state is “going after your kids.”
“Let’s take again Oregon, let’s take again this nation,” she mentioned.
A number of Salem residents remarked on the threatening and bullying conduct and the absence of a police presence on social media. “The Proud Boys are principally illegally taking on Riverfront park for the day and are forcefully ejecting folks they don’t like,” tweeted one citizen. “They’ve weapons. Salem PD are doing nothing and have blocked me, a Salem resident, on this platform. This isn’t okay.”
One aged man posted an outline of the scene on Fb:
Simply took a stroll by way of our Riverfront Park which Republicans and different fascists had commandeered for his or her assembly. Numerous males, principally with sidearms, in Proud Boys uniforms, primarily navy belts and camouflage, and likewise American flags and Trump paraphernalia.
Essentially the most noticeable side, which was my predominant motive for checking this out, was that there was completely no Salem Police current. Not solely within the Park itself but in addition on the periphery, alongside Entrance Road. Not a one.
As I ambled by way of the venue I used to be accosted by a girl who demanded to know why I had a masks on. Then she demanded that I not take photographs, after which insisted that I inform her my title. Seems she was one of many “organizers”.
After that I sat within the amphitheater space and listened to audio system, principally Republicans. The ambiance of hatred and blind, ignorant fury was unbelievable.
I used to be going to remain till Consultant Nearman gave his speech however earlier than we received to that a part of this system 4 closely armed and uniformed Proud boys sat down subsequent to me and mentioned they had been going to escort me out of there, saying the “organizers” did not need me there.
I naturally complied and as we had been strolling out I requested the one who appeared to be their spokesman what would occur if I did not agree to go away as advised, would they forcibly evict me. He mentioned we might do it both method it was as much as me.
Most of us, fairly understandably, do not wish to keep up at night time worrying about these characters however at the very least imagine that they’ve a critical agenda that entails violence and assaults on our governmental establishments. And the police won’t be on our aspect.
One other Salem resident posted about his expertise on Reddit:
I used to be strolling previous the fisherman statue in the direction of the carousel with one of many youngsters I assist once we noticed a gaggle of them strolling by, so we lower by way of the grass in the direction of the entrance of the carousel. I snapped an image to put up to snapchat they usually began following me, yelling “give me that cellphone fucker.” They began getting nearer so we began hurrying to the gates. I needed to cease after I received separated from the child I assist. They began shoving me telling me that I wanted to go. One grabbed a maintain of me so I attempted to stabilize myself and one in all them held me whereas a pair others began swinging at me. It felt like 4 or 5 had been there however it was extra seemingly solely two or three of them concerned within the scuffle. They smacked me within the head a pair occasions and received my ribs and again earlier than throwing me on the bottom. They would not let me return to the child I assist whereas she was nonetheless within the park so I needed to stroll alongside the practice tracks and he or she needed to observe me on the other aspect of the fence. She was being adopted by any individual carrying a ballistic vest and holding a pistol at their aspect. We ended up again collectively on the parking zone by the gilbert home they usually stopped following her.
The identical man commented later that police did come to his dwelling for a press release:
Police got here by the home I am working at and requested me questions. Dude spent all the time principally making an attempt to ask whether or not or not I used to be agitating them. Officer mentioned “It isn’t regular for them to do this unprovoked, however you are not the primary individual they’ve thrown out at the moment.”
The Western States Heart, a Portland-based social justice group, issued a letter denouncing the occasion. It was cosigned by a coalition of non secular and neighborhood teams, in addition to the state’s Democratic congressional delegation and Gov. Kate Brown in addition to different elected officers. “We condemn the bigotry and racism that had been all the time in our neighborhood, and that anti-democratic teams and a few elected officers have emboldened,” it learn.
“The far-right actors behind the Might 1 rally don’t communicate for Salem and they don’t communicate for Oregon,” the letter went on. “Hate and intimidation has no place in our neighborhood, and those that explicitly or subtly encourage violence ought to be held accountable.”