Portland “antifascist” groups have called for bringing back Saturday’s rose parade, even though fears of violence from left-wing protesters are what prompted organizers to nix the popular event in the first place.
The Direct Action Alliance and Oregon Students Empowered, which had planned to protest the parade in order to counter “Nazis” and “fascists,” urged supporters on Thursday to sign a petition to bring back the 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade, held in East Portland.
“This community has already been threatened and affected by these radical Christian extremists enough,” said the Direct Action Alliance post on Facebook.
Both groups insisted they had nothing to do with an anonymous email threatening to shut down the event unless the Multnomah County Republican Party was excluded, but those commenting online were stunned by the protesters’ chutzpah.
“Seriously guys? You [expletives] are the reason it got canceled to begin with,” John DeGroff said on Facebook. “Victimizers playing the victim.”
Parade organizers cancelled the 11th annual event Tuesday after receiving an email that offered a choice: Bar the local GOP, or “we will have two hundred or more people rush into the parade into the middle and drag and push those people out.”
“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,” said the email from email@example.com.
Oregon Students Empowered said it had “no affiliation to the letter,” adding “we wish that the parade organizers could have removed these nazis from marching in Portland instead of shutting down the parade for everyone who has nothing to do with it.”
The petition posted on Change.org by Diane Gill called for a compromise, asking the Multnomah County Republicans to “proactively exclude those who wish to use the parade to promote hateful, biased, exclusionary messaging against immigrants, the queer community, communities of color and other marginalized groups.”
In return, protest groups like “Rise Up, the Direct Action Alliance and/or any other group” were asked to “refrain from committing and/or threatening to commit violence or damage during the parade.”
Direct Action Alliance accused the Multnomah County Republicans of planning to allow a “neo-Nazi hate group march in their event,” and linked to a Jan. 30 story in Willamette Week about a protest group called Bible Believers.
“We will continue to be a voice for non-violent resistance and we will always defend our community,” the alliance said.
More generally, the group has equated supporters of President Trump to Nazis.
An April 22 post shows a man wearing a red “Make America Great Again” ball cap against the backdrop of a World War II Nazi soldier raising his hands in surrender when confronted with a bayonet above the caption, “We beat ‘em before, we’ll beat ‘em again!”
The alliance also made it clear that it had no problem with taking action at the parade.
“The nazis know that we’ll keep shutting their marches down, they are now planning to march within other parades to protect their message of hate and white supremacy — it WON’T work,” said the DAA in an April 22 post promoting the parade protest. “Nazis will not march through Portland.”
Multnomah County Republican Party Chairman James Buchal dismissed the alliance’s claims about Republicans working in league with neo-Nazis as “libelous nonsense.”
“As a practical matter, we post an event on our website. People show up. We do not take applicants and screen participants,” Mr. Buchal said in an email. “If someone shows up and wants to march with us carrying a swastika, or to shout at parade onlookers and tell them they are going to Hell, you may rest assured we are not going to put up with that.”