The mayor of Portland, Ore., urged federal officials and organizers to shut down "alt-right" Trump rallies planned for the upcoming weekend after two men were stabbed to death while coming to the aide of two women during an anti-Muslim tirade.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said Monday that the "alt-right demonstrations" would only fuel hatred and fear during a time of tragedy.
"There is never a place for bigotry or hatred in our community, and especially not now," Wheeler said in a three-part note posted on Twitter.
The mayor assured that the city did not issue permits for the "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events scheduled for this Sunday and June 10. U.S. officials already issued a permit for the Sunday rally.
"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," Wheeler said, adding that the permits should be revoked.
The appeal, however, opened the debate about First Amendment rights in the U.S. Violent protests between far-right and far-left protesters have derailed appearances by contentious figures on college campuses and in liberal cities like Portland and Berkeley, California.
The Facebook page for Sunday's event stated there would be speakers and live music in "one of the most liberal areas on the West Coast," adding that it will be "an uplifting experience to bring back strength and courage to those who believe in freedom." The description also thanked President Donald Trump.
The Associated Press said one of the speakers attending will be Kyle Chapman, who describes himself as an American nationalist and ardent supporter of Trump.
Trump condemned the fatal stabbing on the official POTUS Twitter page on Monday, saying the violence was "unacceptable."
"The violent attacks in Portland on Friday are unacceptable. The victims were standing up to hate and intolerance. Our prayers are w/ them," Trump tweeted.
Ricky John Best, 53, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, were killed Friday as they tried to stop Jeremy Joseph Christian from harassing the women, one of whom was wearing a hijab, authorities said. Another person who stepped in was seriously injured.
Christian's social media postings indicate an affinity for Nazis and political violence. He is accused of aggravated murder, intimidation — the state equivalent of a hate crime — and being a felon in possession of a weapon and is scheduled to be in court Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.