Progressive Bernie Sanders supporter Paul Welch showed up at a Portland, Oregon, rally on Aug. 4 to demonstrate his liberal political leanings — but he left with a busted head after Antifa protesters attacked him. It was all because he dared to carry an American flag, the Oregonian revealed Monday.
What are the details?
Patriot Prayer held the rally in downtown Portland on Aug. 4. Welch, a 38-year-old line cook, joined a group of progressives who were marching to protest the rally.
Welch carried an American flag as he marched — but during the demonstration, members of Antifa reportedly approached him told him to give them the flag, claiming that it is "a fascist symbol," he told the Oregonian.
He was adamantly not a supporter of the conservative activists or their movement, he told the paper, he but took an object to the back of his head anyway and ended up lying on the ground as blood ran from his scalp.
The rally held at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park attracted many demonstrators from many different backgrounds of political ideology, according to Welch.
Welch, however, simply wanted to make his political points of view known and to show that conservatives don't have a corner on the market when it comes to claiming patriotic symbols like the American flag.
"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,'" Welch explained. "Part of my thinking was to take it back."
Antifa protesters, however, didn't appear to listen to Welch's reasons for carrying a flag. They saw a man marching with an American flag and attacked.
Welch said that he believed he was hit with an unidentified metal object. "My bones turned to Jell-O and I just went down," Welch told the Oregonian about the moments following a back-of-the-head strike from a black-clad marcher.
Video footage of a portion of the scuffle ends with Welch lying on the ground, clutching at the back of his head.
"I remember thinking there was a very good chance that I could be beaten to death," Welch added, and said that the attack serves only to damage the left's credibility.
"It strikes me as the worst sort of political theater," he explained. "It's kind of like you're playing into your opponents' hands when you do that sort of thing. That's not what I was there for."
As a result of the attack, Welch suffered a concussion as well as a laceration, which required four staples to close the three-inch gash.
The Oregonian reported that Welch filed a police report on the incident the same week. Sgt. Chris Burley, a spokesperson for the Portland Police, said the department had opened an investigation into the incident.
Man down. He’s dripping blood from his head. This is serious. He got in a struggle with some black clad dudes over a flag and one of them clubbed him. Video coming. #DefendPDX #Alloutpdx pic.twitter.com/2rWnAkAC2J
— PDX Mike Bivins (@itsmikebivins) August 4, 2018
You can see a brief video of the incident below.