Trump supporters clash with counterprotesters at Oregon state capitol
Story by The Oregon Herald Staff
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The group of far-right supporters published flyers in the days leading up to the rally, saying they were gathering to support "freedom."
The first event was titled the Freedom Rally and was posted on social media in February. A second event appeared soon after, named Fascist Free 503, which seems to mean a counter response to the Freedom Rally. Several social media posts connected to the group stated they wanted intention to prevent the Freedom Rally caravan from meeting at the state capitol.
Just before noon, about 100 demonstrators wearing black clothing and bullet resistant vests arrived. They had sidearms, bats, and gas masks at the capitol mall grounds. A few carried Youth Liberation Front flags. The group went along Court Street in front of the Oregon State capitol building.
At about that time, Salem police receive reports that demonstrators from the Court Street began spraying cars with paint filled balloons, and damaging vehicles with rocks and hard objects thrown at them as they passed. One vehicle had serious damage after a large tree limb was thrown through the front window and into the car's passenger seat.
Due to the continuing reports of criminal activity, police closed Court Street to allow Oregon State Police and Salem Police crowd management teams to respond to the area and declare the gathering on Court Street an unlawful assembly. The closure also deterred the Freedom Rally caravan from entering the area. Audible announcements to disperse were given to the crowd on Court Street. The teams successfully removed the individuals onto the capitol mall. No force was used as the individuals complied with commands. The Oregon State Police teams returned to the capitol building area.
The dispersed crowd, however, began to move about the various streets surrounding the capitol grounds. Several altercations and property damage were reported including a reported incident of paintball guns being used, and a firearm displayed. During the arrest of two suspects, officers used less-than-lethal rounds in their apprehension.
The following individuals were arrested and lodged at the Marion County Correctional Facility on charges related to criminal activity during today's event:
Andrew Alan Foy, age 34: Disorderly conduct in the second degree and criminal trespass in the second degree
Nathan McFarland, age 33: Disorderly conduct in the second degree
Anthony Villaneda, age 18: Unlawful pointing of a laser, five counts
These are open criminal cases and will continue to be investigated. Anyone with information related to these incidents or any other criminal acts which took place on Sunday, March 28, are encouraged to contact the Salem Police Department tips line at 503-588-8477.
Our thanks the Oregon State Police and the Marion County Sheriff's Office for their assistance in the handling of today's protest events. We also extend our appreciation to the Keizer Police Department and Polk County Sheriff's Office for their help in responding to calls for service while Salem patrol officers were focused on the events at the state capitol.