Violent Clashes broke out between members of the right-wing Proud Boys militia group and left-wing Antifa, during a Christian prayer event in Portland on Sunday. The religious event was organized by controversial Canadian pastor Artur Pawlowski.
Videos from the clash which involved use of pepper spray and paintball fire went viral on social media.
Proud Boys Were Deployed as Security?
The Canadian preacher is infamous for his controversial remarks and public opposition to abortions, homosexuality and most recently mask rules. Recently, he dubbed the police 'Nazis' for enforcing the COVID-19 restrictions. Earlier, he had claimed that floods in Canada were caused by God's unhappiness about homosexuality.
Sunday's event was advertised widely on the social media. In response to the announcement of the worship event, Portland Antifa groups and activists on Twitter organized a direct action, The Post Millennial reported .
"Welcome to Portland, you won't like it here, pastor," tweeted Portland Antifa member Melissa Lewis.
The incident took place during a prayer service attended by around 50 people at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Members of Proud Boys, armed with paintball guns and batons, appeared to be working as security, according to Portland Tribune.
Antifa Attacks With Pepper Spray, Smoke Grenades
Thee clash, which started around 90 minutes after the sermon began, saw dozens of black-clothed protesters hurling smoke grenades and dismantling part of the public address system. Multiple videos also show an individual, wearing all black, spraying what appears to be pepper spray at the speakers of the event. One of the demonstrators holding a microphone and can be heard saying, 'All Cops are B*******, in the name of Jesus,' over the speakers.
"Antifa had threatened to beat people up and do what they do â and then they showed up and did it," an attendee at the event told the Portland Tribune.
"The police were not even far from there and they were laughing in their vehicles and doing their thing. It's probably hard to care as an officer in a place where they take away all your funding."
Wade Varner, a 64-year-old Navy veteran who served on the U.S.S. Fulton, told the outlet that he was passing through the park with his dog when he decided to get involved. "The Nazis came out and we drove them off again. I'm sitting here, totally unarmed, in a wheelchair, and this fâker shoots me in the face with a paintball."