An upcoming rally by alt-right group Patriot Prayer scheduled to happen in Portland, Oregon in August could become “the next Charlottesville,” reports the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The SPLC has been keeping an eye on Patriot Prayer, which is led by Joey Gibson, an extremist who is based in the Portland suburb of Vancouver, Washington and running for senator as a Republican in the state.
Gibson’s last rally in Portland was declared a riot, and tensions have risen since as the group led a confrontation at the #OccupyICE protest which led Portland mayor Ted Wheeler to break his pledge and send Portland police to expel leftist protestors.
Now, Patriot Prayer is gearing up and has “preemptively declared any violence an act of self-defense.”
“This is war,” the group says, and it’s time to get “suited and booted.”
On the Patriot Prayer page, members are threatening to use weapons, saying Antifa will be met by “about 30 guys or more with AR15s with bum [sic] stocks.”
The SPLC warns that a similar mix of combustible right-wing extremists will attend.
“In addition to Proud Boys who will be bused in from Vancouver, a number of other groups from outside the state are planning to attend,” they write. “Those include anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim outfit Patriot Movement AZ and the Hiwaymen from Arkansas, a group led by “Confederate Patriot” Billy Sessions that attended the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. Even far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones has said he may attend.”
Portland police have discussed allowing “mutual combat” at the rallies after the most recent riot and Gibson has told his followers this may be the case.
“Communists only understand Force,” one group member recently wrote on Facebook. “If you are not going to August 4th please stop telling people what to do when we are defending ourselves. Do you realize we MAY DIE AT THIS RALLY? You think it’s not that serious??”