A report in the Seattle Times claims that an “anti-fascist” group, the Pacific Northwest Youth Liberation Front, is behind a month-long period of violent unrest in downtown Portland, Oregon, and is supplying and arming protesters who have staged nightly attacks on law enforcement officials in an effort to emancipate and occupy a federal courthouse.
Portland mayor Ted Wheeler who, like Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, initially supported the protests, believing them to be connected to national anti-police brutality protests that sprung up in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department.
On Sunday, though, Wheeler issued a series of tweets indicating that the U.S. Marshals and other federal law enforcement officials were investigating the ongoing unrest.
“We are now more than a month and a half into witnessing nightly violence on our streets,” Wheeler tweeted. “Portland continues to be used as a staging ground for violence night after night. This is causing unprecedented harm to our communities, livelihoods, and Portlanders continue to fear for their safety. My main concern is this: that the continuing violence will lead to further injuries or even deaths.”
Wheeler, though, targeted his ire at federal law enforcement officers, after a black-clad protester was hit in the face with a rubber pellet after he threw a canister at several officers.
“A person was seriously injured in Portland last night. This should not have happened,” Wheeler continued. “I spoke with US Attorney Bill Williams about the injuries and learned that the U.S. Marshals Service will be conducting a full investigation.”
In a comprehensive article published over the weekend, though, the Seattle Times says the investigation goes beyond the single incident Wheeler referenced, and that authorities are looking into whether an Antifa-type group is organizing and supplying the violent demonstrations.
The group, the Pacific Northwest Youth Liberation Front, the Seattle Times says, is “emerging as a persistent militant voice” in the nightly battles, many of which end in multiple injuries and widespread destruction of property.
“The paper reported that the group has anonymous leaders and considers itself anti-fascist and anti-capitalist. One of its goals is to upend the U.S. political system,” Fox News noted. “The paper made clear that the group is not the only one behind organizing these rallies.”
The group does not have a significant online presence but does occasionally Tweet about the ongoing unrest in Portland. Last week, the group noted that “The Feds and Portland Police are very quickly finding out that if they build a fortress and use literal siege tactics, the People will put their f***ing fortress under siege.”
Attorney General William Barr announced last month that the Department of Justice would be looking into the Antifa and similar anarchist groups to determine whether riots and unrest in a number of major cities, including New York, Chicago, Baltimore, and Minneapolis, was organized before George Floyd’s death.
Although the federal government has, reportedly, arrested and charged a number of individuals for their roles in inciting violence, attempting to topple federal monuments, and engaging in riots, the DOJ has yet to announce the results of their investigation into anarchist groups.