A driver sped through a crowd of protesters at an anti-police rally blocking a street in Portland, Oregon.

“A car just drove thru a crowd of protesters, dragging one on his hood, during a peaceful demonstration in SE Portland,” Maranie R. Staab, a Twitter user who filmed the incident and posted the 10-second clip online, said.

According to Staab, the crowd had gathered in a peaceful demonstration to condemn police brutality and to demand the “abolition of police.” 

“The group of approx. 25 temporarily occupied an intersection in an act of civil disobedience in a demand for the abolition of police,” Staab wrote in a tweet posted on Friday morning.

The video went viral fast, with over 1.2 million views as of Saturday evening.

“There seems to be some confusion re: the circumstances here. No one attacked this car. The majority of vehicles (several hundred over the course of approx. 30 minutes) chose to drive around the block rather than confront protesters,” Staab tweeted.

It is uncertain if the driver started the battle, but at least three people sought to strike him through his rolled-down window.

“Only this vehicle and several others instead turned and drove into the group. The man who ended up on the hood of the car was standing there when the car drove into him,” Staab wrote, claiming that, “this was a nonviolent demonstration.”

In a response to Staab’s comments, a Twitter user argued that was “a counterprotest.”

“What I saw was a counterprotest. It wasn’t aggressive, he didn’t ‘drag’ the guy, and only accelerated when folks rushed up to his car. Folks are getting fed up with these paid protesters disrupting their work commute,” the user wrote.

Another commentator replied to Staab that the protestors “were beating on the car and that guy that got thrown off the hood JUMPED ONTO THE HOOD.”

Following many responses in which people defended the driver’s conduct, Staab insisted that the crowd was peaceful.

“For those who know their history, this type of civil disobedience is not uncommon. By definition, th(i)s type of protest is the nonviolent refusal to obey a law; in this case the group temporarily blckd traffic. Unlawful or not, nothing justifies driving into a group of humans,” she wrote.

“I didn’t expect this 10 second clip to garner so much attention. I turned off my notifications last night and woke up to over 30 private messages and several death threats. Do better, folks,” Staab wrapped it up by showing screenshots of the messages she had received. 

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