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Dueling Protests in Salem Result in Arrests

Salem Police say several people are facing charges following dueling demonstrations that turned violent near the Oregon Capitol building.

The demonstrations broke out starting at noon Sunday.

Two rival groups said they intended to meet at the state capitol grounds.

The first event billed as the Freedom Rally appeared on social media streams in February.  A second event appeared soon after, named Fascist Free 503, indicating a counter response to the Freedom Rally.  Social media posts connected to the group indicated their intention to prevent the Freedom Rally caravan from meeting at the state capitol.

Shortly before noon, police say about 100 people wearing black clothing and ballistic vests and carrying firearms, bats, skateboards, umbrellas, shields and gas masks arrived on the capitol mall grounds. Some from the group carried Youth Liberation Front flags. The group gathered along Court Street in front of the capitol building.

Salem Police began to receive reports that people from the Court Street group were targeting vehicles. The victims reported their vehicles were damaged by paint filled balloons, rocks and other hard objects being thrown at them as they passed. One vehicle had significant damage after a large tree limb was thrown through the front window into the vehicle’s passenger seat.

Police say because of reports of criminal activity, they closed Court Street and declared an unlawful assembly. The closure also stopped the Freedom Rally caravan from entering the area. Police gave audible announcements to disperse to the crowd on Court Street.  They did not have to use force as people complied with commands.

The dispersed crowd began to move about the various streets surrounding the capitol grounds. There were reports of  altercations and property damage, including the use of paintball guns, and displaying a firearm. During the arrests of two suspects, officers used less-than-lethal rounds.

Police arrested, charged and lodged three people at the Marion County Correctional Facility.

Andrew Alan Foy, age 34: Disorderly conduct and criminal trespass in the second degree

Nathan McFarland, age 33: Disorderly conduct in the second degree

Anthony Villaneda, age 18: Unlawful pointing of a laser, five counts

 


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