UNITED STATES. Portland: Protests by rival far-right Proud Boys and left-wing antifascist groups in Portland on Sunday has culminated in a gunfight, as the opposing sides engaged in clashes when antifascist demonstrators returned fire at a man who shot at them with a handgun in a downtown street.
The firefight took place in the heart of downtown Portland, soon after 6pm.
When the antifascists followed a man at a distance who they were trying to eject from the area, he took cover behind a solar-powered trashcan, produced a handgun and opened fire. He fired at least two shots before an antifascist returned fire with their own handgun. At least seven shots were fired.
Portland police bureau confirmed that the man was arrested for firing at demonstrators.
No injuries were reported in the exchange of gunfire and in numerous other skirmishes that saw opposing sides brawling, dousing each other in what appeared to be bear spray and breaking car windows of rivals.
The incident came after a day of protest descended into a war zone of hundreds of protesters and counter-protesters.
Police Chief Chuck Lovell said during a briefing on Friday that officers would not necessarily intervene to break up fights between the groups.
But he added that “just because arrests are not made at the scene when tensions are high, does not mean that people won’t be charged with crimes.”
In the lead-up to the rallies, Portland mayor Ted Wheeler, other elected officials, and a number of progressive non-profits urged protesters to “choose love” in a virtual rally and press conferences.
As recently as Aug. 7, a black-clad antifa group and a group wearing the colors of the far-right Proud Boys exchanged shots of pepper spray and paint balls after an open-air religious meeting led by a conservative pastor, local media reported.