The Latest: Portland rally, counter protests draw thousands

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Latest on competing rallies in Portland following fatal stabbings (all times local):

2 p.m.

Crowds have swelled to several thousand as demonstrators from varying groups have converged in downtown Portland.

A pro-Donald Trump free speech rally organized by a conservative group has begun. Kyle Chapman, the speaker for the planned event, told media earlier Sunday that it’s good to see people “uniting under the banner of American nationalism.”

Meanwhile, a number of community groups have organized counter demonstrations to rally against hate and racism.

Hundreds of people on the steps of City Hall are holding signs that read “Our city is greater than hate” and “Black lives matter.” They’re chanting “love, not hate.”

Other demonstrators across the street are chanting “USA” and holding banners in support of President Donald Trump.

Dozens of police officers and yellow police tape are attempting to keep various groups separated.

Police have arrested at least two people and confiscated various weapons.

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12:42 p.m.

Portland Police say one person has been arrested as hundreds have begun gathering for opposing rallies following the fatal stabbing of two Portland men who tried to stop another man’s anti-Muslim tirade.

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Police said on its Twitter account that the person was arrested by Federal Protective Service but provided no other details.

Dozens of officers in black protective gear and others on bicycles are in downtown Portland working to keep groups separated on opposite sides of the street.

Officers say they want protesters to stay with their groups and not cross the street to escalate tensions.

Police have said they’re planning a “robust law enforcement presence due to online threats of violence between different groups.” They have warned people not to bring any weapons or items that can be used as weapons to any of the events.

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9:13 a.m.

Hundreds of people are expected to gather in Portland, Oregon, for competing rallies following the fatal stabbing of two men on a light-rail train by a man police say was shouting anti-Muslim slurs.

A pro-Donald Trump free speech rally had been previously planned for Sunday afternoon by a conservative group. The event organized by the group Patriot Prayer was billed on its Facebook page as a Trump Free Speech Rally.

Mayor Ted Wheeler last week unsuccessfully tried to get a permit for the event yanked, saying he feared violence after the May 26 killings. Counter protesters organized by religious and labor groups are also expected to show up downtown.

Mat Dos Santos, the legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, has said it was wrong and unconstitutional for Wheeler to try to stop the demonstration based on the viewpoint of the organizers.

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