Guns Seen in Salem as Biden Inauguration Approaches

The Salem police are partnering with Oregon State Police and the National Guard to prepare for what may be several violent protests at the state capital. 

Early Sunday afternoon there was a small group calling themselves the “Liberty Boys” or saying that they were a part of “Liberty movement.” This group is also known as the “boogaloo bois.” a right-wing extremist group.  These protesters, who numbered around 15, paced in front of the building for a while, with some members wearing masks and camouflage, and some carrying guns. 

A few members told the Statesman Journal they were there to defend their rights, such as the First and Second Amendments. None gave their name, and one said their presence was not to support either political party.  

There was also a person, Kathleen Shrum, of Independence, who was there with a sign denouncing white supremacy as terrorism, adding she was in support of Joe Biden’s inauguration. 

The gathering was small, with people leaving by 3:00 p.m., but a little larger than the one the day before. 

Lt. Treven Upkes said to KATU that the department has seen social media posts and has gotten intelligence from federal partners, such as the Federal Bureau of Intelligence, and also received some information from interviews, discussions with people, and phone calls. 

Leaders of the state’s Republican Party told KATU they were asking that people not protest at the capital, but if they did, to not engage in violence. 

Upkes said that in general, police are looking more to right-wing groups to be present. He also said that his department is noticing an uptick in people who go to protests armed with things from sticks to firearms.  

“First and foremost, we’re prepared. We’re ready. We understand the threats that these demonstrations can cause. We also understand how people can feel about it and be scared for those. But we want to assure people that we’re ready and we will be out there,” Upkes said. 

The Salem Police said that they expect protests early Sunday afternoon, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. 

By: Hannah Ramsey