PORTLAND, OR – A scene of violence and vandalism filled Portland, Oregon on the day of President Joe Biden’s inauguration Wednesday as antigovernmental and anti-fascist protesters – known collectively as ANTIFA – clashed with police while they spray-painted and smashed the windows of a Democratic Party office and other buildings, according to reports.
The ANTIFA members – dressed in black and wearing face masks – were protesting Biden’s inauguration and carried a large banner that bore the message: “We don’t want Biden. We want revenge for police murders, imperialist wars, and fascist massacres.”
The march started peacefully enough, as about 150 members of the march made their way through the streets; however, that all changed when they reached the Democratic Party of Oregon office, where they started tagging the building with spray painted profanities, smashed windows, knocked over dumpsters, and started a small fire.
ANTIFA protestors then walked to nearby Buckman Park, where some of them clashed with authorities, according to reports. Portland police said some members of the group had weapons such as Molotov cocktails, knives, batons, chemical spray and a crowbar.
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Portland Police investigations of the incident have so far lead to eight arrests on charges such as rioting and reckless burning, officials say; similar protests held the same day in Seattle, Washington resulted in two arrests on charges of property damage and assault, respectively. Among the buildings damaged in Seattle was an Amazon store and the very first Starbucks coffee shop location.
The Democratic Party of Oregon released a statement on the incident, noting that they were frustrated and disappointed about the vandalism, but saying that it “shouldn’t take away from the joyous and momentous day” of Biden’s inauguration.
Portland has experienced rioting and civil unrest for months since the death of George Floyd while in police custody, where protests against police brutality would themselves often turn violent, leading to large-scale property destruction and looting.