FBI Warns Of Possible US Election Violence In Protest-Riven Portland

 

 

The FBI has warned of the potential for armed clashes linked to Tuesday’s US election in Portland, as the northwestern city that has become symbolic of the country’s stark divisions braces for unrest.

The liberal enclave in the state of Oregon is still reeling from a summer that saw mass anti-racism rallies inflamed by the arrival of federal officers and right-wing militias, including the so-called Proud Boys.

Tuesday’s fiercely polarized vote — which could see President Donald Trump reelected, or defeated by his Democratic rival Joe Biden — has spurred fears of more deadly street violence.

Downtown businesses were boarding up windows once again as protests are planned for either a Trump or a Biden win — or a state of limbo, with delays in the vote-counting expected nationwide due to a surge in mail-in voting during the pandemic.

“The thing that is the most concerning to me is the potential for armed clashes between opposing groups,” FBI Portland Special Agent Renn Cannon told AFP.

“That could escalate into a dangerous situation where — if tempers are heated — you could end up with an unfortunate or tragic act of violence,” he added, pointing to a deadly shooting of a far-right supporter in the city in August.

The 250-strong Portland office has devoted additional resources to election crimes including voter suppression as well as fraud and foreign cyber threats, said Cannon.

Meanwhile Governor Kate Brown on Monday issued an executive order handing Portland policing to state forces — effectively overruling the city’s ban on tear gas — and putting the National Guard on standby.

“This is an election like no other in our lifetime,” she warned.

– ‘Wild card situation’ –

Brown’s warnings about white supremacists have drawn scorn from local conservatives including talk-radio host Lars Larson, who Monday accused her of “deafening silence” about “Antifa and Black Lives Matter violence” over five months of protests.

But while Oregon is a safe Democratic state, Portland’s Republican hinterland has made it a focus for protests from all ideologies, with further demonstrators flying in from across the country this summer.

FBI agents are being “extra attentive” to any threats that could “reduce the ability for people to exercise their first amendment rights or exercise the right to vote,” said Cannon.

Officials’ fears of renewed violence were echoed by voters Monday, including restaurant cook Leigh Smith.

“I’ve seen everybody’s boarding up already and I’m like ‘oh geez,'” said the 35-year-old, after mailing her ballot near the downtown courthouse that became an epicenter of earlier demonstrations.

“It’s really a wild card situation. It could be really chill… it could become chaotic.”

One cause for optimism is that Oregon votes entirely by mail, making lengthy voting lines that could be targeted unlikely on Tuesday, said Cannon.

Of greater concern are multiple protests planned in Oregon for the aftermath of a vote which may not yield a result for days or even weeks, he added.

“Whether or not those will have an armed component or not, I don’t know,” said Cannon, with no specific threats currently identified.

– ‘Prepared’ for violence –

One group organizing a rally — the left-wing Democratic Socialists of America’s Portland branch — told AFP it was “prepared for right-wing street violence to express frustration about their candidate not winning” if Joe Biden triumphs.

“It’s our duty to show up and counter them,” said co-chair Olivia Katbi Smith, adding that if protesters fail to mobilize in numbers, militias “will actually drive around and assault people.”

DSA Portland does not advocate for armed response to right-wing extremists, she added.

If Trump tries to claim an illegitimate victory, Katbi Smith hopes liberal groups will bring out protest numbers approaching the tens of thousands who attended Portland’s 2017 women’s rights march.

“We’re going to go forward with specific demands about democracy,” said Katbi Smith, including Trump’s removal or a new vote.

She added: “There will be right-wing mobilizations against us after the election.”

Rooney Strikes Twice As DC Down Portland 4-1

Wolves Seal Premier League Promotion With Birmingham Win
Photo: LLUIS GENE / AFP

 

Wayne Rooney scored twice as DC United, fighting for their Major League Soccer playoff lives, beat the Portland Timbers 4-1 on Wednesday.

With MLS still buzzing from the dazzling tackle and pass from Rooney that led to DC’s stoppage-time game-winner over Orlando on Sunday, former England and Manchester United star was again the difference maker.

After Portland took the lead on Samuel Armenteros’ 35th-minute strike, Rooney scored the equalizer shortly before halftime, finding open space to receive a through ball from Yamil Asad and firing a left-footed shot past an on-rushing Jeff Attinella.

Jamaican defender Oniel Fisher put DC United ahead 2-1 in the 47th, and two minutes after bouncing a shot off the crossbar Rooney scored again, blasting a free kick past Attinella.

Darren Mattocks came on for Rooney in the 86th minute and rounded out the scoring in stoppage time.

With the win DC jumped from 11th and last to eighth place in the Eastern Conference, pulling within six points of playoff position.

Aminu Nets 15 Points, Nine Rebounds In Blazers Win

al-farouq-aminu
D’Tigers forward, Al-Farouq Aminu

National Basketball Association (NBA), D’Tigers forward, Al-Farouq Aminu, has scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds to help the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Denver Nuggets 122-113.

The 26-year-old Nigerian shot four of seven from the field and made six of his nine free throw attempts in 28 minutes of play, as Portland took a 1-game lead for 8th seed in the Western Conference.

Portland also got 32 points and 16 rebounds from former Nuggets center, Jusuf Nurkic, while C. J. McCollum added 39 points.

The Blazers would face the Houston Rockets on Thursday night.