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Sunday Protest Draws Opponents Of Federal Agents Deployed Against Demonstrators

Brian Bull

Last night, more than 100 people gathered outside Eugene’s federal courthouse to protest federal intervention in Portland and other cities.  The event was called, “No Fed, No Fascists.”

Concerns over armed federal agents have swelled in the past week, as heavy crackdowns on Portland activists have utilized tear gas and projectiles.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
The event was casually planned, with no specific group claiming to be its primary organizer. The agenda, said one speaker, was simply to condemn the use of federal agents against people speaking out against police brutality and systemic racism.

President Trump has authorized such action in Portland, Chicago, and Albuquerque. Critics say President Trump’s decision to authorize federal agents in several major cities is to shore up his reputation as a “law and order” president, as Election Day nears closer.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Michael Kasahun says he was at the "No Fed, No Fascists" event to show support, and also de-escalate any potentially volatile or violent confrontations.

Now rumors abound that such personnel may be in Eugene.

Michael Kasahun describes himself as a Black father and supporter of justice. He doesn’t know if there are truly federal agents in town, just that he wants demonstrations to be peaceful.

“For those who are destroying property we don’t support it,” he told KLCC.

“Personally myself, I’m here to protect the innocent men and women, young and old, who are out here peacefully protesting, peacefully saying, ‘We don’t want the fed here.’”

The crowd later marched from Eugene’s federal courthouse to the Lane County Jail last night, to show support for several hunger-striking inmates, and to call for defunding the EPD.

Lane Community College student Kiah Anderson said she was upset about armed federal agents deploying tear gas and projectiles against Black Lives Matter activists in Portland.  She said she wouldn’t be surprised if such personnel came to Eugene.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Demonstrators at last night's event, called for defunding the EPD and showing solidarity with Portland activists.

“I hope they learn that it’s not going to do anything but makes things so much worse,” she said.  “This is America.  Nobody is free.  Not until People of Color are too.  And the feds, they aren’t going to do anything but incite more violence and there’s no point to it.”

Anderson and I briefly paused, then moved away as dozens of people suddenly began running away from the front area of the Lane County Jail.  A person with a black helmet and gas mask pulled a gun, causing dozens of people to briefly flee.

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
A counter protester with an American flag stands across the intersection from activists. He was joined by roughly 3-5 more counter protesters, compared to 100 gathered for the "No Fed, No Fascists" event.

A journalist with the Daily Emerald says Eugene Police arrested the man with the gun shortly afterwards.

As for other scuffles and disruptions, a small group of counter protesters with an American flag got into a heated exchange with activists outside the federal courthouse; two people got into a shoving match outside Whole Foods; and past midnight, a person reportedly suffered a seizure as police stood off with the crowd outside the county jail.  Activists told them to shut off their floodlights.  The person was transported away from the crowd and treated.  

As opposed to Saturday night’s protests, there were hardly any counter protesters and the crowd was much smaller.

Copyright 2020, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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