Morning Traffic Passes the Oregon Pioneer atop the Capital Building Salem

The Oregon state Capitol in Salem.

Scuffles broke out between several groups of differing ideologies who came to the Oregon Capitol on Saturday to protest, but there were no police on hand, and the conflicts were broken up by those participating.

Groups including Open Up Oregon and Ones Purpose arrived at the steps of the Capitol before noon Saturday, but before the organized rallies could start, several people with the Black Lives Matter movement were shoved down the steps and into a crowd of BLM protesters.

“We had a little interference today by these people over here to the left,” Tim Davis, one of the Open up Oregon speakers, said of the BLM protesters. “There’s nothing peaceful about them. They’re actually a joke.”

The opposing sides of a few hundred protesters were clearly separated from each other early, with a Black Lives Matter group sitting on the steps on the west side of the Capitol’s steps and the other sides on the center and the top rung.

Several people reported seeing state police officers looking out from the glass doors of the Capitol, but they did not interfere.

Instead, it was left to those in the crowd like William Jones of Black Lives Matter to stop altercations that happened until the protests broke up about 3 p.m.

“Because I went out there and committed that act, I committed that act because I was trying to protect somebody who was fighting against racism and was practicing peace,” Jones said.

“And why was the police not out there? Why did they allow these grown men with Bowie knives on the side of their pockets to do that? he questioned. “ That’s the whole point, why did that happen that these people we voted in to protect us? Where are the police at? Now we have to police our own community. They showed us that today.”

On one of the hottest days of the year, many in the crowd did not wear face coverings or maintain social distance. Many of the speakers railed against Gov. Kate Brown’s mask mandates. “That’s what they do not want is us to talk; that’s why they put masks on our faces,” said Josh Michael of Open up Oregon.

Black Lives Matter flags and American flags were waved simultaneously in front of the Capitol.

Many of the speakers were from Lane County.

Josh Buckwald of Ones Purpose used the platform to discuss human trafficking.

But the Black Lives Matter protesters situated themselves in front of Ones Purpose’s tent.

“If you don’t already know, Portland, Oregon ... which is about an hour from here, is the second leading city of child prostitution in the country,” Buckwald said. “That’s a problem. That’s a huge problem that’s happening dramatically in our own backyard.”

After the initial scuffles, a string of speakers used the platform to decry the governor’s orders around COVID-19.

“These criminals, they’re trying to attack the American way of life, and if you understand how these communists work, they use every form of either political or racial tension, and they use it to create division as a divide-and-conquer strategy so that we do not pull together as an American people and rise up against the corruption at our door,” said Marcus Edwards, who has been involved in counter protests in Springfield.

A group of Open Up Oregon protesters then marched to the downtown Salem Starbucks with the intention of walking into the store without wearing masks, they said. But the lobby was closed and the doors were locked, so they returned to the Capitol before dispersing.

(1) comment

CardiacSpike

When you want the police defunded...

And your GOV directs them not to intervene because she is clueless about the difference between order and disorder...

And you want to be a junior "peacemaker" with no more authority to put your hands on someone than the next guy...

You get what you ask for.

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