Three days after a known white supremacist killed two men and wounded a third on a Portland commuter train, the city’s mayor is asking the federal government to revoke permits for two pro-Trump rallies planned at the federally-controlled Terry Schrunk Plaza because, apparently, in the far-left bastion that is Portland, Ore., voicing support for President Trump qualifies as hate speech.
"My concern is they're coming here to peddle a message of hatred and bigotry," Wheeler said in a news conference Monday.
"They have a First Amendment right to speak, but hate speech is not protected,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said during a press conference on Monday, according to local TV station KATU2.
A rally entitled the Trump Free Speech Rally Portland is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. June 4. A Facebook event page dedicated to the rally already has nearly 300 confirmed attendees. Another protest, the so-called #MarchAgainstSharia, is slated for June 10.
In an unanticipated turn of events, the ACLU of Oregon stepped up to defend attendees’ right to free speech, explaining in a string of tweets that “although it may be tempting to shut down speech we disagree with, once we allow the government to decide what we can say, see, or here, or whom we can gather with, history shows us that the most marginalized will be disproportionately censored and punished for unpopular speech.”
1. The government cannot revoke or deny a permit based on the viewpoint of the demonstrators. Period. https://t.co/P9gcNPAumH— ACLU of Oregon (@ACLU_OR) May 29, 2017
Wheeler said he has asked the City of Portland not to issue permits for “alt-right” protests for either June 4 or June 10.
A federal permit has been issued for the free-speech rally on June 4, but the government has yet to issue a permit for the June 10 event, the Hill reported, citing the AP.
In a response published on Facebook, the event’s organizer, Vancouver-based video blogger Joey Gibson, said he would do everything he could to keep the permits because losing them would make it impossible for the rally' organizers to stop attendees from spreading genuine hate speech. Gibson's full remarks can be viewed below:
Here's Mayor Wheeler's full statement, courtesy of KATU2:
On Friday three men Rick Best, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, and Micah Fletcher stood up against bigotry and hatred. Two paid with their lives. A third was seriously injured.
Our community remains in shock and mourning. But we are also tremendously grateful to our heroes and their families for their selflessness and heroism. They will serve to inspire us to be the loving, courageous people we are meant to be.
As Mayor, I wanted to update you on a few developments:
1) I have reached out to all of the victims and their families, including the two women who were terrorized and subjected to such hatred and bigotry. I have offered my unconditional assistance and support, day or night.
2) I have confirmed that the City of Portland has NOT and will not issue any permits for the alt right events scheduled on June 4th or June 10th. The Federal government controls permitting for Shrunk Plaza, and it is my understanding that they have issued a permit for the event on June 4th.
3) I am calling on the federal government to IMMEDIATELY REVOKE the permit(s) they have issued for the June 4th event and to not issue a permit for June 10th. Our City is in mourning, our community’s anger is real, and the timing and subject of these events can only exacerbate an already difficult situation.
4) I am appealing to the organizers of the alt-right demonstrations to CANCEL the events they have scheduled on June 4th and June 10th. I urge them to ask their supporters to stay away from Portland. There is never a place for bigotry or hatred in our community, and especially not now.
5) I am calling on every elected leader in Oregon, every legal agency, every level of law enforcement to stand with me in preventing another tragedy.
6) When and if the time is right for them, I would like to work with the families to find an appropriate way to permanently remember their sacrifice and honor their courage. Their heroism is now part of the legacy of this great city and I want future generations to remember what happened here, and why, so that it might serve to both eradicate hatred and inspire future generations to stand up for the right values like Rick, Taliesin, and Micah did last week.
Finally, we thought this might help...