"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."
In the wake of recent hate crime incited murders, Portland, OR Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) is seeking to block upcoming alt-right rallies in the city. Wheeler has asked the Federal government for help, since they have jurisdiction over the Terry Schrunk Plaza, where the “alt-right demonstrations” are planned to take place. Wheeler also said the city would refuse to issue permits for the event.
“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 posted on Facebook. He added at a press conference, ”My concern is they’re coming here to peddle a message of hatred and bigotry. They have a First Amendment right to speak, but hate speech is not protected.”
Rick Best, 53, and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, 23, were fatally stabbed on the Portland train when they attempted to defend two women against “various remarks that would best be characterized as hate speech toward a variety of ethnicities and religions”, according to Portland police. The perpetrator, known white-supremacist, Jeremy Joseph Christian, is now in custody and has been charged with aggravated and attempted murder.
Mayor Wheeler is calling for the cancellation of the “Trump Free Speech Rally” on June 4th, and the “March Against Sharia” scheduled for June 10th. Joey Gibson, an organizer for both the events, won’t back down. Gibson posted a video on Facebook in response, saying “If they pull our permits, we cannot kick out the white supremacists, we cannot kick out the Nazis… Our speakers aren’t going to be filled with any hate.”
On a national scale, Trump has been pressed to stop perpetuating the underlying hatred and intolerance that often turns to life-shattering brutality. “President Trump must speak out personally against the rising tide of Islamophobia and other forms of bigotry and racism in our nation that he has provoked through his numerous statements, policies and appointments that have negatively impacted minority communities,” said Nihad Awad from the Center on American-Islamic Relations.
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