Portland’s Red House Antifa dig in their heels, even as Wheeler orders an end to occupation
Antifa’s “Red House” occupation in Portland, OR is growing and a confrontation between protesters and police seems inevitable. The activists are digging in for a long fight according to guest Jason Rantz on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” He made the revelation on Wednesday night and framed the setting up of an “autonomous zone” in a two-block radius around a house in North Portland as ‘Chaz the Sequel’.
The house was lost to foreclosure after a two-year battle. The family that had lived at the home, the Kinney family, was first served an eviction notice in September, according to the sheriff’s office.
“The family is Black and indigenous and so the primarily White Antifa residents believe that this is an example of gentrification,” Rantz stated.
”There’s no actual evidence that this is gentrification,” Rantz went on, “however there is a lot of evidence that there’s been a lot of crime going on as the folks refuse to leave. Cops [Tuesday] tried to remove them from the home, finally removed them from the home, except they came under assault, the officers, from a lot of people who set up camp there. As they were treated, it ended up giving a lot of room to the Antifa protesters to set up a camp.
“And right now they are barricaded. They’ve got a stockpile of weapons. They’ve got armed guards. They’ve got a kitchen ready,” Rantz said, “so they’re there for the long haul as the Portland police department are trying to figure out what exactly they’re going to do.”
“But [police] are amplifying the urgency of the messaging, saying, ‘You guys have to leave peacefully, we’re not going to put up with this.’ So we could potentially see action from the police within the next 24 hours.”
By Tuesday evening, more than 100 demonstrators opposing the eviction had gathered outside the home and barricaded off the surrounding streets.
More than a dozen Antifa protesters were arrested Tuesday for getting into fights with the police.
After protesters barricaded streets and set booby traps Tuesday in response to the arrests, Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell asked for the protesters in North Portland to disarm and leave the area to “allow the neighborhood to return to peace and order.” That request was ignored.
Several city blocks remained closed by a series of blockades Wednesday fabricated with wood, metal, and wire fencing. Armed Antifa protesters dressed in black and wearing ski masks stood watch from atop a nearby wall.
Lovell on Wednesday said that law enforcement officials were working to resolve the matter “peacefully to increase safety for all involved.”
Our goal is for this to resolve peacefully to increase safety for all involved. I encourage those involved to reach out to our demonstration liaisons so we can discuss a peaceful outcome.
— Chief Chuck Lovell (@ChiefCLovell) December 9, 2020
William Nietzche, who is the son of the evicted family, said the eviction is “inhumane, unjust and should never happen again. This is generational displacement that happened.”
The sheriff’s office said two guns were also found in the house, along with two sets of body armor and vests, and what appeared to be a Molotov cocktail in the backyard.
Portland police reported rocks and paint-filled balloons thrown at officers as they tried to disperse the protesters.
Protesters broke police vehicle windows and popped the tires of two police cars. Officers said that after they pulled back, the crowd stockpiled rocks and used fencing to block North Mississippi Avenue.
“We are aware of the stockpile of weapons and the presence of firearms. We are aware of the threat to the community, police, and media. We’ve seen the attacks,” Lovell said in a tweeted video. “Portland police will enforce the law and use force if necessary.”
On Tuesday, liberal Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler stated that he had authorized city police to use “all lawful means to end the illegal occupation.”
I am authorizing the Portland Police to use all lawful means to end the illegal occupation on North Mississippi Avenue and to hold those violating our community’s laws accountable. There will be no autonomous zone in Portland.
— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) December 9, 2020
Protesters and the Kinney family held an afternoon news conference in front of the red house, asking for the public to stand with them.
“Help us occupy this land,” said Ragina Rage, an activist and community organizer. “Help us do this so that we can protect other families that they’re going to do this to. They will target other Black and brown families because of the anti-Blackness that exists within this … system.”
“This is a devastating action that was taken… the tactics that are used to do this is beyond despicable.”
— Maggie Vespa (@Maggie_Vespa) December 9, 2020
This standoff is very similar to one that occurred in Seattle in June, where protesters established an autonomous zone called “CHOP” that was eventually dismantled, in part because of several shootings taking place in the area during the occupation, including at least two that resulted in deaths. There were also numerous other violent altercations in the encampment.
Democratic leaders in both Portland and Seattle have been criticized for allowing protesters to create such zones in the first place. Businesses and locals in Seattle were displaced and were furious over the protests being allowed to continue over an extended period of time.