SALEM The fireworks were visible before the show.
Several groups of diverse ideologies came to the Oregon State Capitol Saturday to protest. There were no officers on hand, and the conflicts were broken up by participants.
Groups including Open Up Oregon and Ones Purpose arrived at the Capitol building before noon Saturday, but several people from the Black Lives Matter movement were shoved down the steps and into a crowd of BLM protesters.
"These people here to the left were having a little interference today," Tim Davis, one of Open Up Oregon speakers said of the BLM protesters. "There is nothing peaceful about them. They're actually a joke."
Several hundred protesters were spooked off, with a Black Lives Matter group standing on the Capitol's steps on the west side, while the other side on the middle and top rung.
Several individuals reported seeing state police officers looking out from the Capitol's glass doors, but they did not intervene.
At least a dozen people in the crowd, like William Jones, accompanied by the Black Lives Matter crowd, were left behind by altercations, until protests ended around 3 p.m.
"Because I went out there and committed that act, I committed that act because I wanted to protect anyone who was fighting against racism and was practicing peace," Jones said.
And why was the police absent? Why did they allow these grown men with Bowie knives on the side of their pockets to do that? he asked. Where are the police at? Today we must now police our own community. They showed us that today.
Many attendees criticized Gov. Kate Brown's face mask requirements on one of the most successful days of the year.
"That's what they do not want is us to speak, and that's why they make masks on our faces," said Josh Michael of Open Up Oregon.
Flags from Black Lives Matter and American flags were waved simultaneously in front of the Capitol.
Many of the speakers were from Lane County.
Ones Purpose's Josh Buckwald was able to interview people who were slain for trafficking.
Demonstrators of Black Lives Matter sat themselves in front of the Ones Purpose tent.
"If you don't know, Portland, Oregon, which is about an hour from here, is the country's second largest city of child prostitution," Buckwald said. "That's a concern. That's a huge problem that's happening dramatically in our own backyard."
After the first shakes, a string of speakers used the platform to decry the governor's instructions about COVID-19.
"These criminals, they're striving to disrupt the American way of life," says Marcus Edwards, who has been involved in counter protests in Springfield. If you understand how these communists work, you may utilize each form of political or racial tension, and they are using it to create division as a divide-and-conquer strategy.
They said a group of Open Up Oregon protesters approached the Salem Starbucks in order to walk into the store without wearing masks. However, the lobby was closed and the doors were locked, so they returned to the Capitol before dispersing.
2020 The Register-Guard (Eugene, Ore.)