(CNN)Members of the far-right Proud Boys -- some carrying firearms and wearing body armor -- massed at a rally on Saturday in Portland, Oregon, as counter rallies unfolded nearby and officials in the tense city braced for violence.
Portland on edge as far-right group holds rally with counterprotesters nearby
At least three people were arrested after nearly 1,500 people gathered at two of three rallies, according to the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office.
The Proud Boys event started about noon PT with speeches by group leader Enrique Tarrio and other supporters. Some rally goers carried baseball bats. Others held President Trump campaign signs. Protective shields were handed out from a van.
"We are aware that shields are being displayed at both event locations," the sheriff's office said via Twitter. "We want everyone to be safe, so we will seize weapons and shields as can be done safely and as resources allow."
The sheriff's office estimated 1,000 people attended the Proud Boys rally at Delta Park in north Portland.
The Delta Park rally unfolded near two other events, one by an anti-fascist group commonly referred to Antifa at Peninsula Park, and one by Black Lives Matter supporters at Historic Vanport, KOIN reported. The sheriff's office estimated there were 450 people at Peninsula Park.
The sheriff's office said in a Twitter post it was investigating an incident in which a man documenting the Delta Park rally was assaulted.
KOIN reported that the Delta Park rally began to wind down at 2:30 p.m. PT while the Peninsula Park Antifa rally ended 30 minutes later.
The streets of Portland have been an epicenter for months of sometimes violent demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism.
Organizers of the Proud Boys rally called it a free speech event in support of the President, the police and law and order. They vowed to condemn anti-fascists and what they call "domestic terrorism."
Proud Boys is far-right extremist organization that has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The founder of the Proud Boys is suing the Southern Poverty Law Center for designating the organization a hate group.
A speaker at Saturday's Proud Boys rally urged supporters to run for all "local offices possible" and "infiltrate all agencies." Some people attending the rally registered to vote. Several people pointed out supposed Antifa supporters in the crowd and chased them away.