Portland PD Investigating Anarchist Group That Says It Torched Police Vehicles in Solidarity With Palestinian Protesters

'Anarchist counter-info' group took responsibility for torching 17 police cars

Portland State University protesters (Mathieu Lewis-Rolland/Getty Images)
May 7, 2024

Police are investigating an online post in which an anonymous group took responsibility for setting 17 Portland, Ore., police vehicles ablaze last week in honor of "all the brutalized student protesters" and "Palestinian martyrs," the Washington Free Beacon has learned.

A blog post published Monday on a site called Rose City Counter-Info, an "Anarchist counter-info platform" based out of the Portland area, took responsibility for breaking into a Portland Police Bureau training facility during the early morning hours of May 2 and subsequently setting "ten fires," adding that the arsonists were "happy it grew to burn fifteen cars!"

Portland police spokesman Mike Benner told Free Beacon that the bureau's subsequent investigation found 17 vehicles with varying degrees of damage. "We are aware of a social media post where a group claims responsibility for the destruction. That post is part of the open and ongoing investigation," Benner said.

The blog post called the attack "preemptive," noting that after watching police sweep the campuses of Columbia, UCLA, and others to quell unlawful anti-Israel encampments, the anarchist protesters knew that nearby Portland State University would face a similar fate. "We knew the occupation at PSU would be swept violently and wanted to attack [the Portland Police Bureau] before," the blog post, signed by "Rachel Corrie's Ghost Brigade," stated. "We did it for all the brutalized student protesters. Above all we did it for the Palestinian martyrs!"

The apparent arson came amid a wave of police action last week against unsanctioned anti-Israel encampments at several U.S. universities. At Portland State University, protesters occupied the school's campus library before police arrested 30 people. The arrests followed hundreds of others at schools across the nation, including in New York City, where city officials indicated that nearly half of the protesters detained at Columbia and the City College of New York were non-student agitators.

During the police raid of Portland State's library, one of the anti-Israel agitators could be heard threatening police with more arson. "Just remember, if 15 cars got torched at the North Precinct last night, we can do it again next month, motherf—er," a black-clad, masked-up protester can be heard yelling at police before officers began dispersing the protesters. The agitator's comments were followed by cheers from the crowd.

The anti-Israel agitator's remarks aligned with those in the anonymous blog post. "We call for more actions to avenge Palestinians and the brutalized students at PSU and beyond!" the blog post stated. "Let ten million cop cars burn!"

In addition to calling for escalation, the blog post sought to speak directly to student protesters with five directives: "No symbolic victories," "No negotiations," "Do not let them demobilize you," "FIGHT! Defend your camps!" and "Fight during the summer."

"Out of the quads, out of the buildings, into the streets! As the semester ends this is not over. Fight during the summer. When next year starts fight then too!" the final directive declared.