Anti-fascist protester who showed up with American flag attacked by Antifa

An anti-fascist protester who brought an American flag to the demonstration in Portland on August 4 was brutally attacked by Antifa thugs after refusing to give up what the Antifa attackers referred to as "a fascist symbol."


Paul Welch came to the downtown protest Aug. 4 to let his political leanings be known.

With pride he clutched his U.S. flag as he moved among the crowd of like-thinking demonstrators.

Soon a group of black-clad anti-fascist protesters, also known as antifa, demanded he lose the flag, calling it a fascist symbol.  Welch refused, and a tug-of-war ensued.

It ended with Welch taking a club to the back of the head, lying on the ground in a pool of his own blood.

Only Welch was not a Proud Boy, a Patriot Prayer supporter or among the other conservative activists who descended into the area that day, many from out of town. 

He was one of hundreds of progressive Portlanders who had turned out to oppose the right-wing rally held at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park.  

"I didn't come as a part of any one group," Welch said in an interview with The Oregonian/OregonLive.  "I was just protesting outsiders coming here for their tacitly fascist event."

Anger following the demonstration has largely been directed at Portland police, whose use of "less-lethal" riot-control weapons on counter-protesters hospitalized at least three people and injured several others.  

But others, like Welch, became targets of violence at the hands of protest participants, even as police kept rival political factions apart. A video taken of his attack has been viewed more than 800,000 times online.

The video shows Welch desperately trying to hang on to the flag while Antifa thugs are looking to take it from him.

Welch's description of the attack is chilling:

As Welch and the counter-protesters wrangle over the flag, another masked counter-protester begins to strike Welch's body from behind using a weapon concealed in black fabric.

That person then uses the weapon to club Welch on the back of the head, causing him to collapse instantly.  The demonstrator with the weapon wanders off.

"My bones turned to Jell-O and I just went down," said Welch, who believes he was struck with a metal object affixed to the end of the weapon.

The video shows a crowd of onlookers watching as Welch lay [sic] on the ground in a fetal position.  Another counter-protester, holding a shield, appears to stand above the injured man and jabs him with a makeshift weapon.

"I remember thinking there was a very good chance that I could be beaten to death," Welch said.

What is it about the American flag, MAGA hats, and other symbols of America that drives people so nuts that they turn violent?  Hating America is only part of the explanation.  After all, a lot of people hate this country and don't take it out on people showing their patriotism. 

I suspect that many of those who turn violent at the sight of the flag have other, personal demons not related to politics or country.  That certainly doesn't excuse their violent behavior.  But it makes them lesser people than the individual carrying the flag or wearing a pro-Trump hat.  At bottom, the thugs don't really believe in anything.

Maybe that's what's bugging them.

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