‘I remember thinking there was a very good chance I could be beaten to death…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Antifa protestors attacked a Bernie Sanders supporter during a rally because he was carrying an American flag.
Paul Welch, a progressive Portland resident, joined a downtown protest led by Antifa, thinking he was alongside like-thinking demonstrators.
But the Antifa mob turned against him as soon as they saw the American flag he was carrying, reports The Oregonian.
Black-clad, anti-fascist protestors told Welch to lose the flag, calling it a “fascist symbol.” When Welch refused, they tried to grab it from him, resulting in a tug-of-war that ended with Welch taking a club to the back of the head.
“I didn’t come as a part of any one group,” Welch said in an interview with The Oregonian. “I was just protesting outsiders coming here for their tacitly fascist event.”
Welch said that because he was carrying an American flag, the Antifa members accused him of being a far-right conservative.
But Welch said he’s a registered Democrat who has supported former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a well-known socialist, since 2016.
“I had felt like showing that a liberal, free Portland — or any major city, really — is much more American and much more numerous and strong than any of these interloping groups,” he said.
Welch said he brought the flag because it’s for all Americans, not just the right-leaning groups that he said “claim it as their own.”
“The right and certainly a lot of smaller groups like Patriot Prayer might rush to things like the flag and try to take it up as, ‘This is our symbol exclusively,'” he said. “Part of my thinking was to take it back.”
He wasn’t the only one carrying an American flag, either. But that didn’t matter to the Antifa mob. Welch said he was struck with a metal object fastened onto the end of a club. Someone hit him in the back of the head with the weapon, he recalls.
“My bones turned to Jell-O and I just went down,” he said. “I remember thinking there was a very good chance I could be beaten to death.”