Antifa Sets Fire and Loots Businesses in New Year’s Day Riot

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"Demonstrators Smog" (CC BY 2.0) by Hermann.Click

On Friday, members of Antifa trashed Portland, Oregon, and loots businesses as part of the New Year’s Day riot, resulting in fires and tens of thousands of damage.

CBS-affiliate KOIN reported that a riot was declared in downtown Portland as Antifa gathered and threw Molotov cocktails and fireworks on Thursday night. They also set fire and looted businesses, and broke windows of hundreds of establishments.

According to the Portland Police Bureau, at least two Molotov cocktail-style firebombs were thrown by Antifa. The Police officer added, “Large, commercial-grade aerial fireworks were launched at the Federal Courthouse and the Justice Center. Some individuals tried to use tools to break into the Justice Center but were not successful.”

Meanwhile, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who previously allowed Antifa to run rampant in Oregon for years, stepped back and condemned the violent left wing group. In a press conference, Mayor Wheeler voiced out his outrage against Antifa for its actions on New year’s Eve and Day. According to KOIN, Wheeler said, “The who: violent Antifa and anarchists,” as the left-wing group rampaged throughout downtown Portland, causing tens of thousands of dollars of damage as they spray-painted walls, broke windows, caused fires, and lit fireworks.

“Why? This is the hardest question of all to answer,” Wheeler said. He also questioned why the group of mostly white, young, and middle-aged men destroyed the livelihood of others who were struggling to get by. Wheeler said, “It is hard for me to accept that there are some people who are just bent on destruction.”

Later on, Wheeler admitted that his relaxed approach to the left-wing extremist group has not worked, and now, he will start to take real actions against these rioters.

The mayor also added that he sees himself as a caring and honest person, and it is hard for him to fathom that some people are “just bent on destruction.”

At the press conference, Mayor Wheeler said, “My good faith efforts at de-escalation have been met with ongoing violence and even scorn from radical Antifa and anarchists.” He continued, “In response, it will be necessary to use additional tools and to push the limits of the tools we already have to bring the criminal destruction and violence to an end.”

Wheeler also said that he has been in touch with Mike Schmidt, Multnomah County DA, stating that he wants more prosecutions and everyone to be held accountable for their actions. The mayor also said that it is time to use “additional tools” to end this violence.

The mayor also stated that he is committing to three things:

  • First, “Federal, state, county, and local law enforcement to convene to deal with anarchist violence as soon as possible.” 
  • Second, calling the state legislatures and to ask them to increase penalties for repeat offenders.
  • Wheeler also added, “I believe people convicted of criminal destruction be required to meet with those whose businesses they damaged, and be required to do public service.”

Meanwhile, at the same press conference, Mike Reese, Multnomah County Sheriff, also condemned the violence that was shown by Antifa. The County Sheriff said, “It was reprehensible violence that occurred last night, and we’re going to do everything we can to hold the people responsible.”

Police Chief Chuck Lovell also added those police officers were attacked during the riot. Lovell said, “last night was extremely challenging for our officers. A group of officers came under attack. It was a very violent, very large confrontation, and the group met them with Molotov cocktails, rocks, bricks, frozen water bottles.”

The local and federal officers were eventually able to stop the rioters. However, it was too late as massive property destruction was already caused.

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