The pro-Trump group Patriot Prayer (routinely described as “far right” but somehow eluding the “hate group” distinction by the Southern Poverty Law Center) emerged from the street brawling days of the 2016 presidential campaign. Its founder says he started the group when he saw Trump supporters attacked on the street.
Its sole purpose seems to be to troll Seattle and, mostly, Portland (from across the Columbia in Vancouver) by organizing “free speech” demonstrations to elicit violent responses from the left, and has been doing this regularly since early 2017, with at least eight successful provocations by my quick count, with their most successful, measuring by trouble caused, the June riot of this year when a mob of antifa and the like attacked the group after it left a rally across from City Hall and the optics went global.
An August rally by about a hundred of them drew several hundred aggressive counter-protesters, who were held in check only by a massive police presence. The city is looking for ways out, but the city council earlier this week voted down a proposed ordinance targeting Patriot Prayer that would have limited street demonstrations. The progressives on the council and their supporters in the streets don’t trust the law won’t be applied to them as well–and the latter are having way too much fun.
Within days another scheduled Patriot demonstration punctuated the city’s failed effort. “Him Too” was the cause–advocating on behalf of men falsely accused of sexual assault. It proved suitably provocative, and the counter-demonstrations naturally formed around Me Too.
Hours before the rally leftists gave speeches in an adjacent park.
Flyers posted about town purported to reveal some Patriot Prayer members as sexual abusers:
As the hour approached more and more lefties filled the streets, but no sign of a right wing presence. At one point a lone young man with an American flag marched down the street dividing a knot of sneering antifa and police barricading the park.
Moments later a young man in black with a bandanna over his face emerged from the antifa lines and, literally pointing-and-sputtering, began shouting “that’s Andy Ngo! He’s a fascist rape apologist! That’s Andy Ngo! He’s a…”
Ngo is a Portland State graduate and writer for Quillette who’s despised by local antifa for, among other things, organizing a talk by James Damore of the Google Memo fame at the school and arguing against the leftist canon from a libertarian perspective.
Later I saw him in Chapman square, the small park block from which antifa was basing its operations. Antifa surrounded and harassed him, with one older member leaning in doing the I’m-a-tough-guy-smell-my-breath routine, threatening and calling him a “coward”.
A large group of #antifa protesters encircled me. After I am pushed away, a masked woman sprays my camera equipment & myself w/wet silly string. They then play music & laugh. I want to file a harassment report with @PortlandPolice but the assailant’s identity is unknown. pic.twitter.com/U0EWZcw8lF
— Andy C. Ngo (@MrAndyNgo) November 18, 2018
(That’s me in the green and white jacket behind antifa messing with my dead phone).
Minutes before the start of the rally there were only a few dozen supporters in the park–cordoned off by metal barricades all around except for a single entry-exit point at one corner. I went through after a brief inspection that consisted of opening my jacket.A few dozen or so milled about the mini-amphitheater in the center of the park. Four or five cops swept through at one point and singled out one guy, then another for questioning. A Patriot leader made excuses for the turnout and no-show speakers who were “stuck in traffic”; the event was a bust.
It didn’t matter. There might not have been fifty right-wingers total, and few of them geared up for battle as in past demonstrations. Meanwhile across the street and all around them the left had amassed two or three hundred, a high proportion battle-clad.
At the end of the Patriot rally the typical scenario unfolded, with antifa descending on vulnerable smaller groups trying to get home. I trailed one group of maybe ten Patriots being stalked by hundreds of antifa.
Here Patriot strongman Tiny Toese is almost completely alone on the street trailed by antifa:
Antifa has women. I’m struck by how often the figure wrapped up like a black mummy emits the screech of the post-adolescent female.
This contingent of black-clad co-eds went about in black and yellow (I think the common black-and-yellow worn by antifa is designed to confuse them with cops, who wear black and yellow too–whatever the case, it gets confusing) with a “Fuck Proud Boys” sign and are typical:
As often as not you’ll see some 90-pound girl up in the front of the ranks relishing the feeling of power of standing down the cops. And they still reserve their fiercest ire for police.
But nobody seems to notice or care the Patriot rally was a flop. Had it been allowed to occur without attention this whole cycle might have stopped right there. Whatever the case, the Patriots seem to be running out of steam, whereas the left here is still itching for a fight. They say they want to be rid of Patriot Prayer and “hate”, but I think they doth counter-protest too much. And too enthusiastically.