Right-wing protesters, 'antifa' clashes bring chaos to streets of Portland, Oregon

John Bacon

Oregon's largest city was calm and quiet Sunday after a day of chaotic, competing protests that clogged Portland streets, crippled public transit and left at least eight people injured.

Police in riot gear broke up the demonstrations as clashes developed among law enforcers, anti-fascist "antifa" protesters and right-wing groups. Three people were charged with crimes ranging from assault on a police officer to harassment, police said.

As the violence increased, police declared a civil disturbance and ordered the protests dispersed. Pepper spray was used by demonstrators and police, Assistant Chief Chris Davis said.

"Demonstration events are very fluid in nature and the management of these events is complex," Davis said late Saturday. "There are hundreds of peaceful free speech events in the city in a given year that do not result in violence. Unfortunately, today some community members and officers were injured."

The protests came a day after avowed white supremacist James Fields Jr. was sentenced to life in prison in Charlottesville, Virginia, for ramming his car into counter-protesters of a “Unite the Right” rally in 2017, killing one and injuring dozens more.

In Portland, Davis said officers were investigating several assaults during Saturday's protests and asked the public for help in identifying more suspects.

Andy Ngo, an editor with the conservative website "Quillette," tweeted photos of cuts and bruises on his face. He said on Twitter he was hit multiple times with fists and weapons.

"Attacked by antifa. Bleeding," he tweeted. "They stole my camera equipment. No police until after. waiting for ambulance. If you have evidence of attack please help."

Protesters also clashed with police, throwing water bottles and eggs at officers, and three were among those injured, police said. There were reports of protesters throwing "milkshakes" – with a substance mixed in that was similar to a quick-drying cement, police said.

Portland Fire Medics were embedded with the police so the injured could quickly receive medical attention, police said.

Pioneer Courthouse Square was closed for about an hour "due to volatile behavior impacting public safety," police said.

"We are actively investigating these incidents to hold those responsible accountable," Davis said.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Right-wing protesters, 'antifa' clashes bring chaos to streets of Portland, Oregon