Demonstrators and far-left Antifa members who arrived to disrupt the planned demonstration began arriving at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in the early afternoon, with several hundred people there by 2:30 p.m., the Portland Police Bureau said.
People also gathered about 10 miles northeast, in northeast Portland.
Brawls broke out in both areas.
“Some individuals committed acts of violence and property destruction both in downtown Portland and in the Argay Terrace Neighborhood after some people physically challenged each other,” the bureau said in a statement.
“There were no immediate arrests, but detectives are reviewing evidence to determine whether charges can be brought for any criminal activity,” it added.
Video footage showed known members of the right-wing Proud Boys group and the anarcho-communist Antifa network, both of which have carried out violence before, brawling on city streets.
In many cases, no police officers were in sight.
It’s not clear who started the brawls between the groups. According to one photographer on the ground, a group of Antifa crashed a van into a demonstration and started throwing explosives, triggering a fight.
In other cases, Antifa members harassed and assaulted locals, including street preachers and a homeless man with a “do not tread on me” flag, as well as journalists, while the Proud Boys smashed vehicles and assaulted counter-protesters leaving the city.
Members of both groups carried weapons, including guns.
Before the events on Sunday, officials said police officers “would not intervene” if people tried fighting.
“As stated before today’s events, officers were not deployed to stand in between individuals intent on confronting one another. But that does not mean the crimes committed will not be addressed. Arrests do not always happen in the moment. As in past such events, we are conducting follow-up investigations, gathering evidence, and will make arrests when probable cause exists that specific persons committed crimes,” the bureau said in a statement.
The agency also said that no city bureaus were involved in facilitating, supporting, or issuing permits for any of the gatherings on Sunday, before adding that it supports First Amendment rights.
The violence led to only one arrest so far. A man identified by authorities as Dennis Anderson, 65, of Gresham, was booked on unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful use of a weapon before being released.
Photographs and video clips showed a white male with a handgun firing in downtown as people took cover behind cars.
Riots have broken out in Portland repeatedly since the spring of 2020. The violence has primarily been fomented by left-wing groups like Antifa.
On Aug. 22, 2020, a similar clash unfolded in front of the Multnomah County Justice Center.
From The Epoch Times