- The Washington Times - Monday, March 29, 2021

Police in Salem, Oregon, arrested at least three people Sunday night as Antifa-aligned protesters clashed with police and damaged vehicles with U.S. flags or right-wing bumper stickers.

More than 200 Antifa sympathizers descended on the Oregon State Capitol to counter-protest a right-leaning “Freedom” rally and flag wave.

The anti-fascist protests threw paint-filled balloons and rocks at vehicles adorned with U.S. flags or flags supporting right-wing groups, Salem Police said in a statement. Some protesters also pointed green lasers at drivers, according to the police.

A video shared by journalist Andy Ngo, who has been independently documenting the Antifa movement, showed one vehicle with its windows smashed.

Another vehicle sustained damage after a large tree limb was thrown through the front window into the passenger’s seat, the Salem police said.

In one area of the Capitol Mall, protesters stacked large shields with some reading “Abolish PPB” (Portland Police Bureau), while supporters prepared baking soda in case contaminates got in demonstrators’ eyes, according to the Salem police.

Other protesters were armed with bats, ballistic vests and gas masks, Salem police said.

In a tweet Sunday night, Salem police warned residents to stay away from the Capitol area. The police also said the crowd included people who were “heavily armed.”

“The risk of violence has increased as the opposing protestors are expected to arrive in large numbers,” police said. “We are advising residents/visitors to avoid the capitol mall area. For those in the area, please remain cautious/aware given the circumstances.”

One person was arrested for pulling a gun, Salem police said.

However, it is not clear if that person is among the three arrests police announced Sunday evening. None of the three individuals arrested are facing firearms charges as of Monday morning.

Those arrested include

• Andrew Alan Foy, 34. He is charged with second-degree disorderly conduct and second-degree criminal trespass.

• Nathan McFarland, 33. He is charged with second-degree disorderly conduct.

• Anthony Villaneda, 18. He is charged with five counts of pointing a laser.

Late Sunday afternoon, police officers formed a line near the Capitol and announced that if protesters didn’t disperse they would be subject to arrest. If they refused to comply, protesters may have weapons, munitions and tear gas used against them.

The anti-fascist protesters arrived at the Capitol to protest a “Freedom” rally to honor those who “fought for our freedoms.” A group called Fascist Free 503 — symbolizing Salem’s area code — quickly organized a counter-protest to prevent the rally from happening, according to a local media report.

It is not clear if the “Freedom” rally ever happened.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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