Thursday, May 26, 2022
May 26, 2022

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Gibson, Patriot Prayer draw larger audience with classes back in session

By , Columbian environment and transportation reporter

Members of the local far-right activist group Patriot Prayer returned to Clark College on Wednesday, after administrators canceled classes Monday ahead of the group’s demonstrations.

Patriot Prayer demonstrated on campus Monday, and at Washington State University Vancouver on Tuesday, against a gun-safety initiative on November’s ballot.

Again, despite concerns to the contrary, things remained civil, although demonstrators Wednesday saw a somewhat larger audience with classes back in session.

Clark College cited safety concerns in canceling classes Monday. WSU Vancouver gave faculty the option to cancel classes and students the chance to stay home Tuesday. Many did, rendering the campus uncommonly quiet.

White nationalists and other far-right extremists often join Patriot Prayer’s larger rallies, which are held in typically liberal-leaning cities and frequently devolve into violence as counterprotesters clash with extremists.

As with Monday and Tuesday’s rallies, a few dozen demonstrators mixed with supporters and onlookers for a couple of hours, and group leader Joey Gibson spoke.

Police presence on the campuses was heavy all three days.

On Wednesday, campus sidewalks were covered with chalk writing, sharing messages in support of minority groups and denouncing bigotry.

The college also set up space in the student union building where concerned students could, as college President Bob Knight put it in a campus-wide message, “connect and find community.”

There was music, food, games and mindfulness activities, as well as opportunities for college community members to share with administrators ideas to make the campus a better environment for historically disenfranchised groups.

Columbian environment and transportation reporter

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