An Antifa-led counter-protest that turned violent a few weeks ago in Portland, Oregon, featured a particularly disturbing moment caught on video: a man carrying an America flag crumbling to the ground after being hit in the back of the head by a masked, club-wielding Antifa member.
While Antifa apparently believed the man was a member of some white supremacist group, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, he was carrying the flag because he wanted to make clear that the far-right doesn’t have a monopoly on patriotism.
“Paul Welch came to the downtown protest Aug. 4 to let his political leanings be known,” The Oregonian reports. “With pride he clutched his U.S. flag as he moved among the crowd of like-thinking demonstrators.” But things quickly unraveled when Welch encountered black-clad so-called “anti-fascist” protesters, who “demanded he lose the flag, calling it a fascist symbol,” the paper reports.
While Welch tried to wrestle his flag back from the Antifa goons, one of them, wearing a baseball helmet, black mask and holding a shield, took a club to the back of his head, leaving him lying concussed on the ground, bleeding profusely.
In addition to the open embrace of violence exhibited by the Antifa member, the other problem for the group, The Oregonian underscores, is that Welch was not some Proud Boy or Patriot Prayer fan, he was “one of hundreds of progressive Portlanders who had turned out to oppose the right-wing rally held at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park.”
“I didn’t come as a part of any one group,” Welch told The Oregonian. “I was just protesting outsiders coming here for their tacitly fascist event.”
“I had felt like showing that a liberal, free Portland — or any major city, really — is much more American and much more numerous and strong than any of these interloping groups,” said Welch, who the outlet notes is a registered Democrat who voted for Sanders in the 2016 primary and Hillary Clinton in the general election.
Here’s video of the attack published by The Oregonian: