The demonstration that kicked off the afternoon started a lot like others in Salem as a crowd of anti-fascists and Black Lives Matter activists gathered around the Capitol building. Absent were the mobs of Proud Boys and Trump followers who have emerged as violent antagonists in past years. Alternatively, the scene was of some 100 protesters clad in black egging and paint-balling a small convoy of the Proud Boys who passed through the Capitol mall on their route to an event that never formed.
Many vehicles in the convoy saw their windows shattered by booing protesters who gathered in the street to block their way. One pickup truck driver tried to drive through the crowd after gunning the motor. No one seemed to be hurt at the scene.
A few hours later, a coalition of local and state police rose from the Capitol to declare the event an illegal assembly, pushing rebels from the area with a line of some 50 officers.
The scene reflected how much of Sunday played out as rebels traded insults with officers in standoffs throughout the afternoon. The crowd could be heard shouting "All cops are bastards" and "F*** the police" as others mocked officers' orders to disperse.
As the day carried on, demonstrators roamed the streets around the Capitol building with police in tow, picking fights with far-right protesters surrounding the Capitol mall. One such incident saw anti-fascists mace the driver of a pickup truck carrying Trump and Confederate flags who stepped out of his vehicle to confront them. The driver seemed uninjured and left the scene.
Later in the day, the driver of a second pickup truck clad with American flags and military insignia attracted a handgun on the protesters egging his vehicle, which was unobstructed, after being told many times to "drive away." He was detained by police at the scene and later allowed to return to his vehicle. The Salem Police Department did not respond to questions for comment.
On Monday, officials reported using impact munitions against two out of three protesters arrested on Sunday and booked at the Marion County Jail on charges of disorderly conduct, criminal trespass, and illegal use of a laser pointer.
The incident was typical of the case left-wing rebels have made against local law enforcement since last summer: police favor the far-right. Accusations of biased policing have plagued Salem since the Proud Boys last came to town to do battle with anti-fascists throughout a pro-Trump rally on Jan. 6. No arrests were made during the incident. Six far-right protesters, by contrast, were arrested in the Dec. 21 invasion of the Oregon Capitol building.