The mayor of Portland, Ore., is calling on federal authorities to cancel a pair of upcoming rallies organized by conservative groups, saying the city was still “in shock” after two men were fatally stabbed on a commuter train Friday while fending off a man shouting anti-Muslim slurs.
Mayor Ted Wheeler asked the federal government to revoke a permit authorizing a June 4 “Trump Free Speech Rally” in Portland’s downtown. He also called on the government to block a “March Against Sharia” that is scheduled for June 10 but has not received permits.
“Our city is in mourning, our community’s anger is real, and the timing and subject of these events can only exacerbate an already difficult situation,” Wheeler wrote in a Facebook post Monday.
He added that he had asked the organizers of the rallies, which he referred to as “alt-right demonstrations,” to cancel their events.
“I urge them to ask their supporters to stay away from Portland,” Wheeler wrote. “There is never a place for bigotry or hatred in our community, and especially not now.”
The federal government controls permitting for the plaza where both rallies are set to take place. The city of Portland will not issue any of its own permits allowing organizers to hold the events elsewhere, Wheeler said.
Portland has spent several days reeling from the deaths of Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, and Ricky John Best, 53, who were stabbed and killed as they tried to protect two young women from a man who boarded a light-rail train and began yelling hateful comments about Muslims at them. A third man who intervened was injured.
The suspect, 35-year-old Jeremy Joseph Christian, has a history of making bigoted comments online and was photographed giving a Nazi salute at a recent protest organized by the group behind the “Trump Free Speech Rally.” Local publications as well as the Southern Poverty Law Center have described him as a “known white supremacist.” He is charged with aggravated murder, attempted murder and other charges.