Protesters Crash Trump Rally — Again

Rally at Ferry Street Bridge attracts Trump supporters from Portland and summons a large protester presence

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend, supporters of President Donald Trump held an event near Ferry Street Bridge, drawing protesters who called them “fascists” and “Nazis.“

The Jan. 18 event followed the informal Women’s March and ran from 2 to 4 pm. Despite bringing out nearly 100 protesters who were not separated from the Trump supporters, the event went on peacefully — despite plenty of confrontations.

About 50 Trump supporters waved flags of different types — the U.S., the “Don’t Tread on Me,” Trump and even one for the conspiracy theory QAnon — as people drove by, some honking and one driver blaring the song “FDT (Fuck Donald Trump)” as the car idled at a red light.

What started as a Facebook event page called “Oregonians for Trump street rally” earlier this week inspired protesters to start another event page.

The organizer of the pro-Trump rally, Emma Mitchem, refused to talk with EW about the rally and why she organized it. Wearing a Turning Point USA pin and a MAGA hat, she said EW would twist her words and turn the article into a “hit job.”

According to Mitchem’s voter registration information from the Secretary of State’s office, she’s a Springfield resident and a registered Republican.

Turning Point USA, a 501(c)3, believes that every “young person can be enlightened to true free market values,” according to its mission statement. The nonprofit’s Pacific Northwest regional director Richard Armande Mills attended the event.

Mitchem used a megaphone to heckle protesters throughout the two-hour event, demanding that people remove their masks, get a real job, go back home to their mother’s basement and more.

This wasn’t the first pro-Trump rally that Mitchem has organized. Her Instagram profile shows she organized past rallies at the Ferry Street bridge in November.

The group Rise! Dance! Resist! attended the event for the first hour, kicking off their presence with a flash mob dance and playing songs like John Lennon’s “Imagine” and Edwin Starr’s “War” from a speaker.

Rise! Dance! Resist! dance at the Jan. 18 Trump rally and protest

The rally and protest wasn’t filled with just dancing, though.

Several confrontations between protesters and Trump supporters resulted in near conflicts. In one of the exchanges, a Trump supporter told a protester, whom he called a “commie,” that one day they’ll all be eradicated — all as the song “Imagine” played over a speaker.

And then one of the Trump supporters tried to pull off protesters’ masks.

Tensions rose toward the end of the event when a few protesters approached Mitchem, resulting in some of her male Trump supporters stepping in — and one of them needing to be restrained.

Although Mitchem frequently said over her megaphone that Antifa protesters were the fascists, Antifa didn’t officially say they were present. EW was told at the end of the event that members of the community, not Antifa, came out to protest the Trump rally.

One of the pro-Trump attendees, LaDon Jean Deatherage told EW that she and a group came down from the Portland area to attend the event.

One of the more high-profile attendees from Portland was Christopher Ponte, who pleaded guilty Jan. 13 to participating in a riot on May Day in 2019.

As a part of his sentence, Ponte isn’t allowed to attend any unpermitted marches or protests, according to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office.

Eugene Police Department spokesperson Melinda McLaughlin tells EW in an email that the rally didn’t have a permit to march since the group only planned to stand on sidewalk areas.

Ponte said on Twitter and on the Facebook event page that he would be at the rally and one protester at the rally tweeted that Ponte did show up.

Four EPD police officers watched from a distance and were available for deescalation purposes, says officer Jose Alvarez.

EPD also had two of their surveillance trailers nearby capturing video of the event and more police officers in SUVs down the street from the event.

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