Portland Antifa members attempted to once again establish an autonomous zone; the new zone stretched along the city’s waterfront.
On Sunday, the Proud Boys were planning to host a rally at Portland’s Waterfront Park, an event which they called the “Summer of Love,” but Antifa members had gathered to protest the group. To avoid confrontation, the Proud Boys switched their venue to a Kmart parking lot. Unfortunately, a brawl erupted after Antifa militants crashed a handicap van outside the rally. The clash continued elsewhere in Portland, instances which included explosives thrown and gunfire exchanged, yet police never intervened.
Later, Portland Police issued a statement explaining their inaction, “Just because arrests are not made at the scene, when tensions are high, does not mean that people are not being charged with crimes later,” (Law Enforcement Today).
Taking advantage of the decreased police presence, Antifa members stole several road signs and roadblocks to set them up around their claimed area, which they were calling SSPAZ: Salmon Springs Park Autonomous Zone. This occupation, however, did not last long because after those associated with the Proud Boys event left, Antifa members deserted the area.
They left behind graffiti and riot gear. Multiple reporters were on the ground attempting to cover the new zone, but their efforts were not without instances of physical violence or threats of it (The Gateway Pundit). Tayler Hansen and Tara Szczepanski, from the Polish American Brotherhood, were confronted and pepper-sprayed by a member of Antifa as Szczepanski was livestreaming.
Journalist Andy Ngo tweeted both a video of the new autonomous zone and a photo of graffiti that read, “Andy Ngo lies,” and underneath it was spray painted the number “187,” which Ngo said is slang for murder. In 2019, Ngo was hospitalized after being attacked by Antifa members while covering a nearly identical Portland clash between the Proud Boys and Antifa (Vox).
The first of several Antifa autonomous zones was established last summer in Seattle amidst the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. Those protesting against the area’s police in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood caused a week-long standoff, which often ended in tear gas. In order to return to peace, the Seattle Police Department offered to have officers leave their building, board up the windows and allow the protesters to do what they wish.
Antifa members ended up claiming several blocks as their own society, and they called it the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.” The area became an experiment, as the New York Times reported at the time, “in life without the police – part street festival, part commune.”
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: DAILY ADVENT