Armed anti-Trump protesters burn US flags in Portland on tense election night

PORTLAND, Oregon — Demonstrators burn US flags and march through Portland with protest songs and assault rifles as a confusing election night unfolds to high tension but without violence in the northwestern city.

The liberal enclave in the state of Oregon has braced for possible armed clashes after months of divisive rallies involving left-wing activists, right-wing militias and federal officers deployed by the Trump administration.

As US President Donald Trump claims he won the US election, despite key states still counting ballots, activists gather outside the Portland federal courthouse — the epicenter of the summer’s fraught anti-racism protests.

“We don’t like either candidate — I shamefully voted for Biden — but if Trump gets another four years people will be mad,” says one 20-year-old protester, who asked to be called “L,” as two American flags are ignited in front of the building.

Many at the courthouse shout slogans against Trump as well as Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, a bogeyman for anti-police protesters who won re-election, while others dance and twerk to loud hip-hop music.

The FBI has warned of the potential for armed clashes in Portland linked to the polls, but there were no signs of election night activity from right-wing groups such as the Proud Boys.


Protesters burn an American flag outside the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in Portland, Oregon, on November 4, 2020. (Ankur Dholakia/AFP)
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