Right-wing activists carried guns into an Oregon park to protest firearms safety laws and the coronavirus vaccine.
The "May Day 2A Rally" drew up to 200 demonstrators to Salem's Riverfront Park, with security provided by members of the Proud Boys group that has been implicated in violent street clashes and the Jan. 6 insurrection, reported KPVI-TV.
"Our founders rightly understood that restricting the means of defending one's life is tantamount to taking away the right to life," said Sam McAllister, a Mapleton-based firearm component manufacturer who spoke at the rally. "Restricting weapons is equal to taking away that right."
Some armed demonstrators "closed" the park to media, which they lacked authority to do, and participants threatened journalists attempting to cover the event.
Threatened a few minutes ago by these two gentlemen. They tell me the "One Nation, One God" rally is closed. https://t.co/wAiO5AffXI— Tim A. Gruver ☕📰 (@Tim A. Gruver ☕📰) 1619896408.0
No police were present at the demonstration, and it's not clear whether organizers obtained the necessary permits for the event, which included food and merchandise vendors who also require permits.
State Rep. Mike Nearman had been scheduled to appear at the protest, hours after he was arrested and charged with letting right-wing activists into the state Capitol last year, but a recent report indicated he was ill with the coronavirus -- which other speakers questioned during the event.
Failed Senate candidate Jo Rae Perkins described the COVID-19 vaccine as a "bioweapon" and vowed to run against U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) next year, and she told participants to follow Sun Tzu's "Art of War" and win the culture war "quietly and slowly."
"We're not going to do it by force," Perkins said. "We don't need to do it by force. I do not believe we will end up in another bloody civil war, but we're going to fight this, and we're not going to quit."