One dead in Portland after Trump supporters clash with protesters
The fights began after hundreds of Trump supporters converged in Portland, an epicentre of BLM protests
SAN FRANCISCO: A person was shot dead on Saturday in Portland following clashes between Black Lives Matter protesters and supporters of US President Donald Trump, the police said.
The Oregon city has been an epicentre of Black Lives Matter protests since the police killing of unarmed black man George Floyd in Minnesota in late May, and, according to local media, a "caravan of hundreds of cars" of Trump supporters also converged there on Saturday.
Portland police tweeted a political rally was "caravanning throughout downtown Portland," adding: "There have been some instances of violence between demonstrators and counter demonstrators. Officers have intervened and in some cases made arrests."
OregonLive reported "clashes" and "tense moments" between the groups, although the police did not say whether the shooting was related to the demonstrations.
The New York Times cited two unidentified witnesses as saying a small group of people got into an argument with other people in a vehicle, and someone opened fire.
The man who was shot and killed was wearing a hat with the insignia of Patriot Prayer, a far-right group based in Portland that has clashed with protesters in the past.
It also reported that Trump supporters and counter-protesters clashed on the streets, with people shooting paint-ball guns from the beds of pick-up trucks and protesters throwing objects back at them.
Reports said the shooting took place after most of the caravan had left downtown.
Meanwhile, about 1,000 people joined a 1.6km-long march in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Saturday, chanting "Black Lives Matter" and "No Justice, No Peace" as Mr Trump announced plans to visit the violence-rocked city next week.
Mr Jacob Blake Sr, father of the 29-year-old black man whose shooting by a police officer on Aug 23 sparked the unrest, called on protesters to refrain from looting and vandalism, which had overshadowed peaceful protests before a tense calm set in the past three nights.
"Good people of this city understand. If we tear it up, we have nothing," he told a gathering at a park that was the hub of protests in support of his son Jacob Blake Jr. "Stop it. Show 'em for one night we don't have to tear up nothing."
The shooting of Mr Blake, in front of three of his children, turned the mostly white city of 100,000 people south of Milwaukee into the latest flashpoint in a summer of US-wide demonstrations against police brutality and racism.
Mr Trump, who has taken a hardline stance against the protests, will visit Kenosha tomorrow to meet law enforcement officials and assess damage, a White House official said.
"The thing I'd like to tell Mr President is that Black Lives Matter (BLM) members are not the thugs, not the looters," said Mr Clyde McLemore, founder of a BLM chapter just outside of Kenosha. "He's blaming us, and that's not the way it is."
Mr Blake, 29, survived but was left badly wounded and paralysed from the waist down. - AFP, REUTERS