“Can’t stump the Trump” was the mantra of the day for Portland State Students for Trump as organizers held the group’s second meeting.
At the advice of PSU’s Campus Public Safety Office, the event was moved outdoors instead of being in the cafeteria as originally advertised.
Protesters organized a counter protest for the same day and promoted it via posters around campus that read “Racism does not belong at PSU.”
The pro-Trump group initially met at the PSU Park Blocks but quickly moved to the Urban Plaza where a smaller group of protesters were waiting with drums, whistles and sirens.
Both sides drew in many non-PSU students of varying ages. Among Trump supporters were people wearing anti-Hillary and anti-socialism shirts.
Infowars also had a significant presence with a small media crew and fans wearing its branded gear. Infowars is a right-leaning, controversial website created by Libertarian radio host Alex Jones.
The protesters had few identifiable affiliations compared to the first Trump meeting. A small number of protestors wore Black Panther uniforms while a few others concealed their faces with masks.
No single anti-Trump demonstrator took a clear leadership role as the group made collective noise to drown out support for the national candidate.
Each group remained on opposite sides of the plaza for about 15 minutes but eventually moved face-to-face. The two groups remained at a relative standstill for another forty minutes.
Trump supporters carried megaphones and chanted several slogans like “Can’t stump the Trump” and “USA, USA,” but were mostly overshadowed by the sirens and whistles. Between individuals, “Go get a job,” “Take a shower” and other insults were shouted.
Some protesters eventually tried to block banners carried by the Trump supporters by forming body walls.
In reaction, Trump supporters unraveled a banner that read “Soros Stooges” behind one group of walled protesters. Activist businessman, George Soros, is said to have funded and organized some anti-Trump demonstrations.
One protester, Brandon, who declined to give his surname, walked to the middle of the Trump group with his siren. Tensions mounted briefly as Trump supporters attempted to cover his siren with their hands and backpacks.
Brandon, an activist with the Black Rose Anarchist Federation, told the Vanguard that he is not a student and that he showed up “to shut down Trump supporters.”
The Trump supporters attempted to address some speaking points mostly led by non-students but could not be heard well over the noise. After an hour, PSU Students for Trump founders Stephen Johnston and Volodymyr Kolychev led the group back to the Park Blocks. The protesters followed.
In the Park Blocks, Trump supporters were met with onlookers and lingering guests of the PSU Farmers Market, which happened earlier in the day.
PSU Students for Trump momentarily stopped near Cramer Hall but were again drowned out by the sounds of protest. The group then changed tactics and led themselves on a longer march in the vicinity of downtown Portland. The protesters followed, but largely remained on the opposite side of the street.
As the march continued, the number of participants on both sides began to dwindle. The march ended near the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on Southwest Broadway. Video footage shot by a Pacific Sentinel reporter shows a protestor throwing food on the remaining Trump supporters who had gathered in a circle.
Several men chased after the protester who was soon apprehended via a citizen’s arrest. It is unknown if he faces any charges.
Tensions escalated again as the remaining protesters and Trump supporters confronted one another outside the concert hall. Olivia Pace, an organizer with the PSU Student Union, accused Johnston of posting a racial slur online.
In response, Johnston and other Trump supporters shouted repeatedly, “Where’s your evidence?” Pace took an active lead in disrupting the first Trump meeting earlier this month.
A masked protester, identified by the Vanguard as Phoenix Singer, spit on a Trump supporter during a verbal argument. Singer is running as a write-in candidate for Associated Students of PSU Senate with Unite PSU. Singer served as ASPSU Equal Rights Advocacy Director in 2013.
Footage of the incident has been shared on social media.
Pace and Singer did not respond to the Vanguard‘s request for comment.
Editor’s note: Additional details added April 18 at 7:30 p.m.