The message from Chapman Square Saturday morning was clear: Believe survivors. It was a rallying cry for hundreds who turned…
The message from Chapman Square Saturday morning was clear: Believe survivors.
It was a rallying cry for hundreds who turned out to listen to speeches from seven survivors of sexual assault in an event designed to drown out another rally organized by members of Vancouver, Washington-based Patriot Prayer in Terry Schrunk Federal Plaza.
In terms of sheer attendance, it worked.
No lesser than 200 people filled Chapman Square hours ahead of the competing rally, where demonstrators totaled maybe 40 at its zenith.
Attendees in Chapman Square chanted along to protest standards like “Whose streets? Our streets “and jeered mentions of an ordinance to regulate protests proposed by Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who was voted down 3-2 earlier in the week.
They also listened to stories from seven survivors of sexual assault who spoke about being harassed at work.
Alyssa Pariah said the three commissioners who voted against the ordinance sent a message in support of rallies like Pop Mob’s.
“I’m glad he got the message because I was going to be out here, anyway, “she said.
Shortly after the event at Chapman Square, members of Patriot Prayer hyped up a sparse crowd at Terry Schrunk Plaza, rallying attendees against what they said were unfounded accusations of sexual assault against prominent men.
Six arrested after dueling protests in Portland
Haley Adams, who organized the gathering, said she had a friend in high school who was falsely accused. She also cited the hearings for allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, then a nominee, in early October as a flashpoint in her decision to host the event.
Adams also said the dozens gathered at the plaza were also there to support male victims of sexual assault.
Demonstrators in Chapman Square were not buying it.
“You might be able to fool some people, but you can not fool us,” Pariah said, citing the influx of speakers railing against Me Too across the street. “The idea that there are men who are serving life sentences for rapes they did not commit is laughable.”
All signs pointed to the rally at Terry Schrunk Plaza with a turnout of fewer than 40 people.
“Effie Baum, who organized the rally at Chapman Square through Pop Mob, said it was about showing off what Portlanders, not outside agitators, stood for.
” Patriot Prayer is belittling the Me Too Movement, “Baum said.” And we need to outnumber them whenever they come. “
Although the dueling rallies never intertwined, police made six arrests Saturday as demonstrators from Adam’s protest returned to their cars.
1; Eder Campuzano | 503.221.4344