Conservative journalist blames assault on Antifa activists

Conservative journalist blames assault on Antifa activists
CNN video

Street clashes between rival protesters in Portland, Oregon, turned violent Saturday, leaving eight people injured, according to police.

Andy Ngo, a journalist for a conservative website, was among those caught up in the violence and he blames Antifa protesters for the attack. CNN has not been able to confirm that those who attacked Ngo were Antifa protesters.

Ngo was hurt when he was beaten by a group of demonstrators and video from the scene shows him being kicked, punched and sprayed with some kind of liquid. According to CNN Portland affiliates KOIN and KATU, the rival demonstrators included anti-fascist protesters and members of several right-wing groups — among them the far-right Proud Boys.

A post on a website for the Rose City Antifa group earlier this month had called on its supporters to “defend” Portland against a planned Proud Boys demonstration.

Portland police said three people were arrested during the clashes and the eight injured included three police officers. Police did not respond to a CNN request for comment Tuesday.

“This country is very tuned to knowing and sensing when the right goes too far,” Ngo told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day,” after being released from the hospital. “I wonder if this country is also attuned to when the left can go too far.”

Police said items that looked like milkshakes were thrown at officers but the projectiles actually contained quick-drying concrete.

Two officers were pepper sprayed, an officer was punched in the arm by a demonstrator, and an officer sustained a head injury from a projectile, police said. None of the injuries were life-threatening.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler responded to the protests in a tweet saying the authorities were doing everything possible to ensure “those who have committed violence are held accountable.”

Ngo and Antifa already had a contentious relationship. Antifa has claimed Ngo promotes the interests of the Proud Boys. Prior to covering the Saturday protests, Ngo took to Twitter to say that he was nervous about covering the Antifa rally in Portland and alleged that the Antifa had “promised ‘physical confrontation.'”

“It’s always been my goal to just go in and document these protests in a professional manner,” said Ngo. “And for that I was deemed to be a provocateur and deserving of a mob beating.”

The Antifa group draws its name from “anti-fascist,” and it has come to represent what experts who track these organizations call the “hard left.” The group protests the amassing of wealth by corporations and elites.

Antifa activists, who operate without any centralized leadership, have told CNN in previous interviews that their goal is peace and inclusivity. They often denounce racism as well as capitalism and government.

Their methods are often violent. Antifa activists admit they’re willing to physically attack anyone who employs violence against them or who condones racism — as long as force is used in the name of eradicating hatred.

When CNN reached out via email to the Rose City Antifa group regarding the video and accusation against them, a spokesperson for the group would not comment on if its participants were involved in the attack against Ngo.

This article has been updated.

CNN’s Steve Almasy and Dakin Andone contributed to this report.