Oregon parade nixed after physical threats to Republicans.
Left-coast cities rocked by escalating protests
Protesters in Portland, Oregon, have gone from blocking streets and disrupting city council meetings to threatening to rough up Republicans, and James Buchal is sick of it.
The chairman of the Multnomah County Republican Party, Mr. Buchal accused city officials of kowtowing to “domestic terrorism” after an annual parade was canceled over a warning from radicals who said they would wreck the event unless Republicans were excluded.
“[O]nce again, local civic leaders didn’t do enough to prevent organized gangs of criminal thugs from running rampant in the city,” Mr. Buchal said Wednesday in a statement. “According to the criminal elements, they control the streets of Portland.”
Organizers of the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade scrapped the Saturday event after receiving an anonymous email offering a choice: Either bar the Multnomah County Republicans or “we will have two hundred or more people rush into the parade into the middle and drag and push those people out.”
“You have seen how much power we have downtown and that the police cannot stop us from shutting down roads so please consider your decision wisely,” said the email from email@example.com.
There was little doubt that the protesters could make good on their threat. Left coast cities like Portland and Berkeley, California, have borne the brunt of the resistance’s wrath since President Trump was elected, despite their status as havens of liberalism.
Conservative author Ann Coulter on Wednesday canceled her speech at the University of California, Berkeley after Young America’s Foundation withdrew its support amid threats of violence.
“It’s sickening when a radical thuggish institution like Berkeley can so easily snuff out the cherished American right to free speech,” Ms. Coulter tweeted.
Like Berkeley, leftist Portland has been rocked since November by a relentless stream of left-wing demonstrations against the president, in some cases resulting in vandalism and arrests.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, a Democrat, cracked down on protesters in March after they repeatedly shut down city council meetings by interrupting council members and staff.
Commissioner Nick Fish advised his staff to stop attending meetings over safety concerns. Mr. Wheeler spent two nights in a hotel after activists blocked access to his Portland Heights home.
There’s evidence that other Portlanders grow weary of the mayhem. A video posted Jan. 26 by Fox12 Oregon showed onlookers cheering as police broke up masked protesters blocking a busy city street.
After the Tax Day protest on April 15, Oregon Republican Party spokesman Kevin Hoar blasted the “pointless perpetual protests by anti-Trump fringe groups.”
“It must be frustrating for so many Oregonians who want to enjoy a beautiful, sunny Easter weekend in Portland to have perpetual, professional, astroturf protesters disrupting their day with POLITICS, especially over an issue that only fringe activists care about,” Mr. Hoar said in a statement.
The 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association cited “threats of violence” for its decision, saying that it could “no longer guarantee the safety of our community and have made the difficult decision to cancel the parade.”
The Direct Action Alliance, which had organized an event on Facebook called “Defend Portland from Fascists at the Avenue of Roses Parade,” said it was “disappointed” by the cancellation, but vowed that “we will always defend our community.”
The alliance said that “known members of neo-nazi and anti immigrant hate groups planned to attend the event.”
“[W]e intended to stand between them and those who they wanted to intimidate. We intended to block out their hate and shut down their violence,” said the alliance.
It was unclear what was meant by “hate groups.” Members of Patriot Prayer, a pro-Trump group that opposes the “antifa” movement, had scheduled a March for Free Speech on the same day in Portland.
Mr. Buchal said the local GOP had participated in the 11th annual parade in East Portland for years and had expected hundreds of its members to attend.
“The bottom line is that Portland needs to choose between supporting terrorist thugs and protecting average citizens who want to participate in their community,” he said. “The Multnomah County Republican Party is not composed of ‘Nazis’ and ‘white supremacists,’ and those who think we would tolerate marching in a parade with folks carrying swastikas are delusional.”