A planned rally honoring those who “fought for our freedoms” near Salem, Ore., was disrupted by an Antifa counter-demonstration Sunday that included about 200 “heavily armed” protesters, according to the Salem Police Department.
Hundreds of “black bloc” protesters descended upon Capitol grounds as part of a “Fascist Free 503” counter-protest intending to prevent the scheduled Freedom Rally from reaching the Capitol, police said in a statement.
Many of the counter-protesters wore black masks and helmets, with some featuring anti-fascist stickers. As vehicles waving American flags approached the Capitol, the Antifa demonstrators threw objects including paint-filled balloons and rocks, breaking several vehicles’ windows, and pointed lasers in the eyes of several drivers.
Law enforcement said the left-wing demonstrators arrived at the Capitol with bats, ballistic vests and gas masks. The demonstration was eventually declared an unlawful assembly and at least three individuals were detained, police said in a statement.
Independent journalist Andy Ngo shared images of the clash on Twitter.
“On 28 March, 2021, [Antifa] gathered in Salem, Ore. in a pre-planned riot,” Ngo wrote. “They wore ballistic vests and carried guns, bats, shields & gasmasks. They assaulted drivers on the road by throwing paint and rocks. One vehicles windshield was impaled by a tree limb.”
In another video shared by Ngo, a truck waving a Thin Blue Line flag and the Gadsden Flag was attacked by Antifa demonstrators who smashed its driver’s side window. The same truck was later impaled with a tree limb and covered in paint by the violent demonstrators.
“[Antifa] impaled the red truck with a large tree branch during their mob attack on the vehicle outside the Oregon state capitol,” Ngo tweeted. “There was a female passenger in the vehicle at the time who was nearly killed.”
During the event, another attack by Antifa was caught on video, showing black bloc demonstrators smashing a Freedom Rally attendees truck.
The man who was attacked in his truck got out and pulled a handgun, shouting, ““Get away from me!”
Police quickly swarmed the scene and ordered the man to put the firearm down and get on the ground. The man complied with the officer’s orders and Oregon State Police Capt. Tim Fox laster told The Oregonian that he had not yet been arrested, but the case was under investigation.
The Antifa mob was reportedly upset at the situation, claiming, “If he was black, he’d be dead,” Ngo tweeted.