The far-right Proud Boys claimed success and vowed to conduct monthly protests in Portland after a weekend "End Domestic Terrorism" rally in Oregon's largest city drew hundreds to condemn anti-fascist "antifa" activists.
Rose City Antifa, Portland’s anti-fascist activist organization, countered with its own demonstration against the Proud Boys, an all-male extremist group condemned by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its ties to white nationalism.
Portland Police Lieutenant Tina Jones said 1,200 people representing both sides took to downtown streets and that least 13 arrests were made. Authorities were mostly able to keep the conflicting groups apart through a series of protests and counterprotests lasting about nine hours.
Six people suffered minor injuries, Jones said.
"We know there is the possibility that assaults or other crimes occurred outside of the view of officers," police said in a statement. "Officers and detectives will be spending the hours and days ahead writing reports, conducting interviews and pursuing investigations."
Proud Boys protest organizer Joe Biggs said his group sought national attention and they got it. He noted President Donald Trump's tweets as the protests unfolded.
Trump tweeted that Portland was "being watched very closely" and that the government was considering a plan to name antifa a terrorist organization, a designation normally reserved for foreign organizations.
The idea is not new. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, last month co-sponsored a Senate resolution that would designate groups and organizations "who act under the banner of antifa" to be designated as domestic terrorist organizations.
“Look at President Trump’s Twitter,” Biggs said in a tweet that went viral. “He talked about Portland, said he’s watching antifa. That’s all we wanted. We wanted national attention, and we got it. Mission success.”
Major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an “ORGANIZATION OF TERROR.” Portland is being watched very closely. Hopefully the Mayor will be able to properly do his job!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2019
Mayor Ted Wheeler was less pleased at Trump's perspective. He described the contentious rallies as "potentially dangerous and volatile."
“Adding to that noise doesn’t do anything to support or help the efforts that are going on here in Portland," Wheeler told CNN.
Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio promised monthly rallies until Portland, a liberal city with a strong antifa following, is freed from the group's "grip." Wheeler, noting that some weapons were seized, lauded police for keeping relative calm in the city as the groups moved in small bands throughout the day.
The FBI, Oregon State Police and a number of surrounding police departments helped keep the peace.
"In light of the recent mass shootings around the country, we prepared for the worst. I am relieved that no lives were lost," Wheeler said. "Portland police did an extraordinary job keeping the peace, protecting life, and responding to violence. We are very grateful."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Antifa: Proud Boys claim success after Portland protest