While riots raged and a state of emergency was declared in Portland, the Inauguration Day protesters in Eugene made some noise and made some friends. Eugene anti-Trump activity on Inauguration Day was centered at the University of Oregon around the EMU amphitheater.
A noon sit-in workshop at the EMU Fishbowl was organized by a number of radical leftist organizations. The Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation , Radical Organizing Activist Resource Center, Young Democratic Socialists and Our Revolution Lane County were all at the sit-in. The groups used the time to make signs, give speeches and share contacts.
“We need spaces where people can gather today,” GTFF organizer Michael Marchman said. “I see a tremendous crisis, with tremendous opportunity.” Others were looking to connect with people before Saturday’s women’s marches occurred nationally and in Eugene.
At 5 p.m. a trickle of people gathered at the EMU amphitheater to give speeches and make political statements. Open debates started to flare up about peaceful and violent protesting as night fell and more masked protesters filled the crowd. Augustina Beard, an organizer with ROAR, helped plan the march and remarked that a lot of activists from Eugene were in Portland. “Direct action needs to take a stand against Trump,” says Beard.
By 6 p.m. about 150 protesters set off marching and quickly spilled onto the streets. A mix of students, masked anarchists, and disgruntled youth made their way to Kesey Square on Broadway to make noise. Lane student Reid Ellingson and alumna Tasha Briquet made some noise at the square and beat on a squeeze box accordion while hundreds screamed. Food Not Bombs set up in the square and a number of black-clad demonstrators were in attendance.
The protest circled back to the UO campus by 7:30 and the various speakers committed to attend Saturday’s women’s march. Eugene street demonstrations have had a festival atmosphere and even at night are exceptionally peaceful. Protests against Trump are a trend in Eugene that started the day after the election.