Portland, OR – Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has issued a plea for citizens to help expose antifa in order to “take the city back” from violent rioters who have been terrorizing with riots the city for nearly a year.
“They want to burn, they want to bash…they want to intimidate, they want to assault,” Wheeler said during a press conference on April 23. “Our job is to unmask them, arrest them, and prosecute them.”
Wheeler said the city is “beginning to recover,” even as the violent uprisings continue, but that “self-described anarchists who engage in regular criminal destruction don’t want things to open up.”
Antifa instead wants to prevent city leaders from making Portland better for everyone, the mayor said.
Wheeler said he has spoken with people who have refused to stand beside him in public when he speaks out against antifa because they are afraid the mob will retaliate against them or their businesses.
Meanwhile, “many courageous [Black Lives Matter] leaders” have stood up and denounced antifa, he said.
“If they can, we all should,” Wheeler declared. “If BLM leaders can show the courage to stand up to this mob, then we all should.”
The mayor said he has directed the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) to arrest anyone participating in illegal activity “to prevent and limit further destruction.”
“I support our police using all legal strategies – including kettling – when the appropriate circumstances and resources are available to do so without putting officers at risk of physical harm,” he added.
Wheeler said antifa has relentlessly attempted to “instill fear by intimidation” in the Pearl District community.
“We must stand together as a community against this ongoing criminal intimidation and violence,” the mayor said.
He further claimed that state and federal prosecutors have vowed to “take actions to hold law violators accountable.”
“People know who these criminals are. They know what they’re up to,” Wheeler continued.
He urged people to contact PPB with information about the rioters or license plate information for the vehicles they are using to get to the areas where they are congregating.
“Together, we can make a stand,” Wheeler said.
Rioters took to the streets again shortly after Wheeler’s plea to the community on April 23.
“The group began marching in the streets about 9:15p.m., and within 15 minutes reports of broken windows and graffiti came in,” the PPB said in a press release.
A portion of the mob forced its way into a tavern and restaurant on Northwest Hoyt Street at one point during the mayhem, police said.
Rioters hurled a rock through the window of a resident’s home as he was recording the “march” moving past his house, according to the press release.
They also allegedly painted graffiti on a Moroccan restaurant and a Tri Met bus shelter, police said.