Hundreds showed up at the Wayne Morse Federal Courthouse on Saturday night to stand in solidarity with the Portland against federal police presence. This event was one of many that took place across the country as part of a national call for a day of action on July 25.
It began as peaceful protest. At a quarter past 8 PM, folks were still trickling in while there was music being played on the steps of the courthouse. A little while later, some Back the Blue counterprotesters showed up to interrupt the event. Forming a wall on the Southwest corner across from the courthouse, holding “All Lives Matter” signs.
The event was further escalated by the Back the Blue people and others looking to disrupt that were brandishing guns in front of protesters. One person that was in the wall of counterprotesters pulled out a handgun and fired it in the air of the middle of the crowd. A person attempted to drive through the crowd, stopped their truck, opened the door, and pulled out a gun twice when BLM protesters called for him to drive around. Other ALM counterprotesters brandished their guns in front of BLM protesters. EPD said they arrested the person that shot off the gun, but did not report about any actions against the other people waving their guns in the crowd.
Black lives matter protesters reconvened in front of the courthouse after successfully running off the ALM crowd. They then began to march down 8th avenue with chants in support of Black lives.
Police made their first presence of the night after protesters smashed windows at Elk Horn Brewery, whose owner founded Eugene Wake Up, a group that has been antagonistic towards houseless people. Elk Horn also previously employed neo-fascist Damien Hurt.
As the night went on police became more violent towards protesters and the press. Police tackled and pinned a teenager to the ground, shortly before a reported Proud Boy, who had infiltrated the crowd had punched a kid on a bike and left untouched. Later, police fired tear gas into the crowd in the Jefferson Westide residential neighborhood, mainly hitting media and also getting to the lungs of residents (Side note: read about how dangerous tear gas is during a respiratory pandemic). Police gave warnings, but did not give a required notice when they dropped the tear gas.
Eugene Jail Support is reporting that seven protesters were arrested that night. They are asking for those looking for support to call 541-515-5721 and for donations to @eugenebailfund on Venmo.
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The week ahead
Tuesday, 4 PM — Wayne Morse Center: Black mental health matters
Tuesday, 5 PM — Cascadia Wildlands WildChat: defending Oregon’s waters
Wednesday, 11:30 AM — BIPOC LC: abolish ICE ― defend our international students & undocumented community
Wednesday, 5 PM — LERC & OR AFL-CIO: the labor movement’s role in the fight for racial justice
Thursday, 3 PM— CLDC: SLAPP Suits for activists – what you need to know
Find more events at solidarity.page