An annual community parade in Oregon has been canceled after radicals threatened to shut down the event unless the local Republican Party was banned from participating.
Organizers of the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade in East Portland received an anonymous email urging them to bar the Multnomah County Republican Party, or “we will have two hundred or more people rush into the parade into the middle and drag and push those people out.”
The 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association issued a statement Tuesday saying that it could “no longer guarantee the safety of our community and have made the difficult decision to cancel the parade originally scheduled for Saturday, April 29, at 9:30 a.m.”
“The related Carnival at Eastport Plaza is also canceled,” the association said. “We are deeply disappointed that the agendas of these outside groups have so regrettably impacted East Portland and the 82nd Avenue community.”
The threatening email, sent by email@example.com, referred to previous protests and warned, “You have seen how much power we have downtown and that the police cannot stop us from shutting down roads so please consider your decision wisely.”
The subject line was, “Don’t make us shutdown the parade.”
The Direct Action Alliance, which had organized an event on Facebook called “Defend Portland from Fascists at the Avenue of Roses Parade,” said it was “disappointed” by the cancellation, but that “we will always defend our community.”
The anonymous alliance said that “known members of neo-Nazi and anti-immigrant hate groups planned to attend the event,” but it did not specify what that meant.
“[W]e intended to stand between them and those who they wanted to intimidate. We intended to block out their hate and shut down their violence,” said the alliance.
Prior to the cancellation, Multnomah County Republican Party Chairman James L. Buchal had urged the mayor and police in a letter to identify the leaders of the radical group and “take steps to prevent their proposed criminal conduct.”
He said the local party had participated in the 11th annual parade for years and expected hundreds of its members to attend.
“The road to fascism begins with armed gangs of thugs using violence to shut down opposing points of view,” Mr. Buchal said in a Tuesday statement. “The question now is whether the city of Portland will be complicit in such conduct. We hope the city’s new leadership has the courage to respond to these threats appropriately.”
The locally run parade is among many events timed to the annual Portland Rose Festival.
“The Rose Festival is saddened to learn that this wonderful community event, in one of Portland’s most culturally enriched neighborhoods, has been canceled due to the ongoing political divisiveness in our country,” spokesman Rich Jarvis told KOIN-TV.