Police and Law Enforcement

Knives, brass knuckles and axes confiscated at Portland protests

The photos depict a scene from medieval times.

An arsenal of deadly weaponry -- including clubs, knives, bricks and what look like spears -- were seized by police in Portland on Sunday as rival political groups clashed during a pro-President Donald Trump, free-speech rally.

While police did not say which group, specifically, supplied the cache of weapons, law enforcement clad in riot gear had to shield themselves from rocks and other projectiles thrown by anti-Trump protesters, according to local news outlets.

At one point, several anti-Trump protesters – black- clad and masked – were seen waving an "Antifascist Action" flag at pro-Trump activists across the street, Reuters reported.

"Over the course of several hours, 14 arrests were made at a variety of locations due to criminal behavior," the Portland Police Department said in a news release Sunday night.

"The intent of law enforcement today was to provide a safe environment for all participants, non-participants, and community members while ensuring the peaceful exercise of the First Amendment," police said. "Groups at Portland's City Hall and Terry Schrunk Plaza were largely peaceful, while a group at Chapman Square required significant attention from law enforcement."

"During the course of police action, in response to a significant amount of projectiles being thrown, less lethal munitions, including 'pepper ball' and aerial distraction devices (ADD) were used by police," the statement said.

Thousands of demonstrators and counter protesters converged in downtown Portland, Oregon, on Sunday. A pro-Trump free speech rally drew several hundred to a plaza near City Hall more than a week after two Portland men were fatally stabbed trying to stop a man from shouting anti-Muslim insults at two teenage girls on a light-rail train.

That rally was met across the street by hundreds of counter-protesters organized by immigrant rights, religious and labor groups. They said they wanted to make a stand against hate and racism.

Police used flash-bang grenades and "pepper balls" to disperse a crowd at a separate protest after claiming protesters were hurling bricks and other objects at officers. Portland police spokesman Sgt. Pete Simpson was not immediately available for comment Monday morning when contacted by Fox News. Police told The Associated Press that the people gathered at the free speech rally organized by the conservative group Patriot Prayer and counter-protesters at City Hall were not involved in those clashes.

Sunday's event was billed as a Trump Free Speech Rally in "one of the most liberal areas of the West Coast."

Rally organizer Joey Gibson held a moment of silence for the two men who were stabbed to death and pleaded with the crowd to refrain from violence. He later told them that goal is to wake up the liberty movement. "It's OK to be a conservative in Portland," he said.

Last week, Mayor Ted Wheeler unsuccessfully tried to have the permit for the free speech rally revoked, saying it could further enflame tensions following the May 26 stabbings.

The suspect in the light-rail stabbings, Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, attended a similar rally in late April wearing an American flag around his neck and carrying a baseball bat. Police confiscated the bat, and he was then caught on camera clashing with counter-protesters.   

In a video posted on Facebook, Gibson condemned Christian and acknowledged that some rallies have attracted "legitimate Nazis." He described Christian as "all crazy" and "not a good guy."

Authorities said that on May 26 Christian killed two men and injured another on the light-rail train when they tried to help after he verbally abused two young women, one wearing a hijab. Christian is charged with aggravated murder and other counts.

Trump denounced the killings as unacceptable while saluting the three victims for "standing up to hate and intolerance."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.