(ABC NEWS) — Four people were arrested and one person was injured as several hundred people descended on downtown Portland on Saturday, police said.
There were “at least four arrests,” Portland Police Lieutenant Tina Jones said in a statement. “One individual sustained an injury and was transported by ambulance.”
Portland has been bracing for several militant right-wing groups to arrive in the city, along with scores of counter-protesters.
Enrique Tarrio, national head of the Proud Boys, who describe themselves as an all-male “western chauvinist” group, and former InfoWars personality Joe Biggs, organized the “End Domestic Terrorism” rally on Saturday that started at 11 a.m. local time. Initially, the crowds moved in slowly, and were met by a heavy police presence, in which local police were bolstered by more than a dozen other law enforcement agencies.
Members of other far-right extremist groups, including the American Guard, the Three Percenters, and the Daily Stormers, were also expected to attend in the hopes of declaring militant leftists, or anti-fascists known as “antifa,” a domestic terrorist group.
One right-wing militia group, Oath Keepers, disavowed the rally for fear of being associated with white supremacists.
“We do not believe the organizers are taking the steps necessary to ensure that white nationalist and suspected white nationalist groups and individuals will be excluded,” said Stewart Rhodes, the group’s founder, in a statement on its website.
Previous rallies featuring right-wing groups and antifa have turned violent in Portland, a city so closely associated with liberal hipsters it inspired the parody show “Portlandia.”
This week, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler held a rally with local groups to say that hate is not welcome in the city.
Ahead of Saturday’s rallies, Wheeler issued a video message stating, “if you’re planning on coming here on August 17th with the intent to commit violence, we don’t want you here.”
Local authorities have beefed up security and have been joined by an array of other law enforcement agencies “on a scale that this city hasn’t seen in years,” Wheeler said.
Early Saturday, Trump criticized antifa in a tweet, and said Portland is “being watched very closely.”
“Major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an ‘ORGANIZATION OF TERROR,'” the tweet read. “Hopefully the Mayor will be able to properly do his job!”
The president did not, however, criticize the right-wing organizers.
It was unclear whether Joey Gibson, the leader of right-wing Patriot Prayer, will attend the rally. He and five other men have been arrested this month, on charges stemming from a violent outburst on May 1 at Cider Riot, a bar that is a haven for the city’s leftists. Videos of the May Day incident show men associated with the group unleashing pepper spray, fighting and striking people with batons.
He turned himself in to authorities and was bailed out on Friday.