July 22, 2024

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From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

KEPW News reports from the Free Palestine protest and march

5 min read
Todd Boyle summarizes points made by Free Palestine protesters, Dan Pulju accompanies the march through downtown Eugene, and DJ Suss D describes the scene after a splatter ball gun was fired into the crowd.

by John Quetzalcoatl Murray with KEPW News reports

KEPW News was on the scene of the Free Palestine rally and march in Eugene Oct. 21. Speakers at the rally asked that they not be recorded, for their personal safety. Summarizing the speeches and sharing his opinions about the rally, Todd Boyle:

[00:00:08] Todd Boyle: Leaders at the Free Palestine rally in Eugene recited some highly useful and relevant facts about the history and reality of Gaza. Two hundred and fifty people at the rally, mostly in their 20s or 30s, listened, rapt, and at times participated noisily.

[00:00:23] Together, I believe these points made at the rally form an alternative analysis that’s widely held among younger Americans:

[00:00:29] 1. The Palestinians have lived under a brutal oppression by the state of Israel that’s been going on since their conquest in 1948. And it’s an apartheid state that denies basic human rights to the Palestinians. And so the fact is after 75 years encompassing three or four generations, many Palestinians live in a world that is incomprehensible to the West.

[00:00:55] 2. All peoples who are attacked and invaded by a foreign military have a right to self-defense. Of course they’re going to fight. This is a rather obvious point, and it’s totally congruent with security doctrines in the West, Western culture, as well as international law. People who are attacked and invaded have a right to fight back. Now, why isn’t this applied to Palestine?

[00:01:19] 3. Acts of rebellion by occupied Palestinians for the past 75 years have necessarily been asymmetrical, another term for guerrilla war, within the reality that is imposed by Israel itself, the asymmetric and unilateral use of force to oppress Palestinians. Again, this is a very clear fact. Acts of rebellion will be asymmetric. In other words, taking the forms of guerrilla war, including acts against civilians.

[00:01:49] 4. It has been the United States who has blocked all UN resolutions and peace efforts in Israel, either as the United States or through its client state, Israel, supporting Israel’s refusal to agree with either the one-state solution or the two-state solution. So it’s the United States who’s responsible for the paralysis with no treaty, no one-state or two-state solution. Clearly, Israel wants it all.

[00:02:17] 5. And this is where it gets harder. Any Palestinians, particularly in Gaza, realize that the state of Israel is never going to concede or share power and will continue its relentless drive to eliminate the Palestinian population. Israel is never going to concede power short of a military defeat in war. Thus, Gazans have to choose between permanent and subhuman conditions of permanent enclosure within their open-air prison, or figuring out some way to make war against the state of Israel. That is the choice that Gazans face.

[00:02:53] 6. Thus the call for cease-fire in Gaza is a return to the status quo with no hope of change in Gaza. No one-state or two-state solution.

[00:03:06] All of Saturday’s speakers conveyed their grief and emotional pain as they came to realize the truth about U.S. foreign policy that has killed countless innocent people. I share these wounds. These young people realized that Israel was created by England, not out of love for the Jewish people, but as part of their larger project of colonialism to control the Suez Canal, which is vital for their trade with India. And Israel has been supported by elites in the U.S. and globally as a foundation of military power to control the oil of the Middle East against the countries and peoples of the region itself.

[00:03:42] The truth we have come to understand: Global imperialism and colonialism is maintained ultimately by the U.S. military. So I agree with the analysis of these younger people, and I feel a great sense of gratitude to hear it spoken clearly.

[00:04:03] John Q: After the speeches, over 200 protesters set off on a march.

[00:04:06] (March audio courtesy Dan Pulju): From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free…

[00:04:36] John Q: As the march approached Pearl and 8th Avenue:

[00:04:41] DJ Suss D: This is from my account of the event at the scene. There had been heckling from motorists at the rally during the speeches.

[00:04:48] Just before the end of the march I was walking south on the east side of Pearl Street. I noticed a protester with an AK-47. I moved away from him as I continued south.

[00:05:00] John Q: Eugene Police said Jonathan James Wisbey stopped his pickup truck to block the crowd. Their Mobile Response Team began closing on the area, as protesters slashed one of the truck tires. The police reported that Wisbey got out of his truck and shot a splatter ball gun into the crowd. D J Suss D relates what he experienced at the scene:

[00:05:19] DJ Suss D: Halfway up the street protesters ahead of me began screaming and running toward me. The crowd was partially blocked by construction debris on the northeast corner. I hunched down looking for a break in the melee to take cover behind parked cars in the empty lot to the east opposite the Lane County Courthouse building.

[00:05:37] The crowd took my cue and ran behind the parked cars, leaving me a steel ballot box as cover. We all looked back to see if anyone was hurt.

[00:05:46] People around me said the police seemed to be stunned into inaction, leaving us to fend for ourselves.

[00:05:52] John Q: Eugene Police said a couple of protesters with handguns drew their weapons. Mobile Response Team officers challenged, then detained the armed individuals. KEPW News described the scene:

[00:06:04] DJ Suss D: The police locked the scene down right away and let protesters continue past the white pickup truck.

[00:06:09] A protester stood against a police unit and a person lay prone on the ground. Both had their hands behind their back. After determining the fate of its comrades, the rally continued east back to the federal building, where it dispersed.

[00:06:22] Wisbey was arrested and lodged at Lane County Jail on charges of menacing, and disorderly conduct in the second degree.

[00:06:28] John Q: At the Free Palestine rally in Eugene, multiple weapons are drawn but only one weapon was fired. Reporting from the scene for KEPW News, Dan Pulju, DJ Suss D, and Todd Boyle.

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