On Friday, Eugene and Springfield both saw protests that drew out large groups of attendees.
The BIPOC Liberation Collective hosted an anti-racism protest at Monroe Park in Eugene. Prior to the gathering, BIPOC organizers urged members to come prepared to walk at least two miles, and said the event would demonstrate how anti-racism and anti-capitalism work hand in hand.
About 20 people armed with guns provided security for the group while they congregated at Monroe, marched, and listened to speakers.
Said one speaker (who chose to remain anonymous by dressing head to toe in black clothing): “One might claim to believe that Black Lives Matter, while failing to challenge and fight against the government in collusion with corporate entities that deny many Black people access to proper nutrition, housing, education, and healthcare necessary for their survival.”
The event drew about 75 people who marched in a tight group through West Eugene’s residential neighborhoods. Protestors attracted both support and opposition from observers along their path as they marched to businesses who hadn’t yet supported the Black Lives Matter movement.
A few miles away, an All Lives Matter protest formed at the Springfield Public Library which attracted numerous counter-protestors.
Led by guest speaker Marcus Edwards, the protest held nearly 200 people in attendance altogether. Edwards, a Black man, talked about repairing the division the Black Lives Matter movement has created, as well as led chants to rally Springfield residents.
“All power to all people,” “Black lives matter,” “united we stand divided we fall,” and “God bless America,” were among some of the chants Edwards led.
Tensions between counter-protestors and Edwards’ audience rose throughout the event, until Springfield police became consistently involved with separating fights between the groups.
Despite warnings of coronavirus and social distancing, many officers and protestors were not wearing masks.
Copyright KLCC, 2020.