Crowds march through downtown Portland for ‘Eclipse Hate’ event - KPTV - FOX 12

Crowds march through downtown Portland for ‘Eclipse Hate’ event

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Hundreds gathered in downtown Portland Friday evening for a rally before taking to the streets to march in a show of support for a community across the country rocked by violence and hate just a week ago.

The “Eclipse Hate” event, organized by Portland’s Resistance, came just one week after the violence in Charlottesville, where a woman was killed during protests.

Rally-goer Tessa Brooks said that Oregon’s history with racial conflicts spurred her to join in Friday night’s march.

“Portland has a very racist past and a very white supremacist past, especially in certain parts of Portland,” she said. “It’s time for people like me to get off the couch and say, ‘I’m not okay with white supremacy.’”

More than 100 people gathered at the Salmon Street Fountain for what organizers said would be a peaceful march through downtown Portland in solidarity with the Charlottesville community. The march stayed mostly peaceful, except for when some fireworks were shot into the sky near Pioneer Courthouse Square.

“I think there’s a lot of forces now that are trying to divide, so things are breaking us apart," marcher Jason Mekkam said. "How you show strength is coming together. So I just wanted to do my part. A lot of what’s going on is because people are silent.”

Around 8 p.m. the marchers began moving over the Hawthorne Bridge blocking traffic.

The crowds later moved toward the Morrison Bridge, where they took a seat in silence for four and a half minutes, a move they said was to honor victims of hate.

While tensions did begin to run high toward the end of the night, with a fight nearly breaking out, those marching were able to keep the situation calm, with peace signs and fists remaining high in the sky.

“I believe in our community and I expected that we would show up for this kind of thing,” marcher Josie Moberg said. “This is one of the most beautiful things I've ever experienced in my life. The solidarity and the community that we saw here tonight was really astounding.”

Officials with the Portland Police Bureau told FOX 12 they reached out to organizers asking if they wanted a permit to block some of the streets since they plan to march through downtown but said the organizers were not willing to work with the bureau.

Organizer Greg McKelvey said the group planned to exercise their right to free speech.

“There are currently neo-Nazis and fascist groups that organize here,” he said. “We want to show them what we look like, but we also want to show Charlottesville that we stand with them.”

In the end, the march remained peaceful and those in attendance thought their message was heard.

“I always will have hope for the future," marcher Josh Thomas said. "The things that happened in Charlottesville happened so that we can all come together for this very cause.”

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