June 12, 2024

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From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

UO activists seek boycott, divestment, sanctions against Israel

6 min read
UO activists will ask the Board of Trustees to support a boycott, divestment, and sanctions against the nation of Israel, in a campaign that they hope will spread across the United States.

UO activists will seek economic sanctions against Israel. As part of a protest rally and march where Eugene police made two arrests, speakers said they will bring their demands to the university’s Board of Trustees. KEPW producer Dan Pulju recorded speakers Jan. 20:

Eric Howanietz: …No longer will those without state power be disregarded as the Palestinians have been for so long. The anarchy of relations between states has for too long made it impossible for us to come together. Where that comes to an end starts here: in the campuses, in the departments of academia, on the streets, in the union halls.

[00:01:00] For 20 years since I’ve lived in Palestine, nothing has changed. A right-wing regime has held sway in Israel and more importantly has inextricably intertwined itself with both political parties in the U.S.

[00:01:20] In 2015, Netanyahu stood before Congress at the behest of the Republican congressional majority and they completely bypassed the impotent Obama administration. We can all clearly see what side of the American divide the Israeli regime prefers, and which side their unfolding genocide will benefit in the coming contest. But America has married itself to this genocidal regime, as it once did to apartheid South Africa.

[00:02:03] …This campus cannot on its own change the world. But our position of privilege in the imperial core at the top of the global hierarchy of fictitious states means if we change America, we change the world.

[00:02:29] Let us make Eugene one of 10 cities that changes America. And let’s start with the most powerful institution in this town.

[00:02:40] We have eight weeks before the next UO Board of Trustees meeting. We have eight weeks for this campus to become a full partner of the boycott-sanctions-divestment movement against Israel, and for all UO assets and investments to fall in line with that movement.

[00:03:07] Let us pray that Palestine will be more than just a memory before that day.

[00:03:19] In that time—because our cause has never been more earnest—let us put all our energy towards this, a full boycott-sanction-divestment for UO, then for Eugene, then for Oregon, then America, then the world. And finally the people of the world can stand as one.

[00:03:53] Shachar: As we all know, this did not start on Oct. 7. One of the first recorded massacres of Palestinians occurred in 1937, the Haifa massacre. And then of course there was the Nakba, 1948, when ethnic cleansing and genocide paved the way for the state of Israel, a Zionist settler-colonial state.

[00:04:18] Much like other white supremacist settler-colonial states, Israel’s racist-fueled genocide was not a glitch but rather a matter of state-enforced policy. What we’re seeing in Israel and Palestine today is a rapid slide into fascism and a barbaric militarism never witnessed before. The scale and speed of destruction is incomparable. Israel is a pariah state and the U.S., U.K., and the E.U. are funding it.

Is it all for oil and gas? Is it for a mere 25-mile tract of land? Whatever the sick rationale to the many millions around the world watching these atrocities unfold, Israeli is committed to genocide and ethnic cleansing and we the U.S. are funding it.

[00:05:22] It must be called out by all people all over the world of conscience. The struggle for Palestinian liberation has awoken the world. Palestinians are never going to be alone ever again, will they? (No!) Keep thinking of her justice and humanity, keep disrupting, keep calling your reps, keep pressing those on the fence to take a stand and join us with humanity.

[00:05:54] So first call for an immediate ceasefire. Then lift the illegal siege of Gaza. Then an end to the occupation. And finally, free Palestine. From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free! Free Gaza, free Palestine!

[00:06:21] John Q: UO activists are seeking a boycott, divestment, and sanctions against the nation of Israel, a campaign they hope will spread across the U.S. The next quarterly meeting of the Board of Trustees is set for March 11-12.

Two men arrested for disorderly conduct during march

from the Eugene Police Department – (YouTube video including Eric W. Howanietz arrest by Dan Pulju)

At around 1 p.m. on Jan. 20, Eugene Police Department’s Mobile Response Team (MRT) was monitoring a planned protest and march of approximately 100-150 people from downtown to campus. Prior to the march, Eugene Police had attempted to contact organizers to help facilitate their right to march, but they were not receptive.

The group began to take the roadways and MRT officers worked to keep them off main roadways so that regular and emergency traffic would not be impeded. At one point, MRT officers were flagged down by a person reporting damage to his vehicle by the passing protesters (case 24-00872). 

The group marched into the UO’s Erb Memorial Union for speeches. They then walked down 15th Avenue and marched east to Villard and then from Villard to Franklin. Some of the march was on smaller roads with lower speeds. As the crowd walked on the roadway towards Franklin it became apparent they were going to walk onto Franklin Boulevard, which is a major thoroughfare connecting Eugene and Springfield and has high average speeds for vehicles.

EPD’s MRT with the assistance of patrol attempted to prevent the protestors from taking over Franklin and other main roadways to prevent interference with traffic, risk to drivers and protestors, as well as impeding emergency services. The group was advised of the need for staying on the sidewalks.

Some of the protesters were verbally hostile toward officers and made threats to escalate in the future, but walked west on the sidewalk along Franklin. Several bicycle protesters rode the wrong way in the bike lane and officers had to ride in the roadway against oncoming traffic to protect them.

The group made its way back through campus and arrived at 13th and Kincaid. Officers attempted to keep the crowd from taking over the West 11th Avenue roadway, however the group outnumbered the officers available and broke through.

A man later identified as Franz Martin Miller, age 36, of Eugene, began pushing an officer who was on a bicycle with his bicycle. The two bicycles got entangled and once free, Miller continued to try and block the officer from performing his job. Miller was taken into custody without further incident. He was transported and lodged at Lane County Jail for disorderly conduct and interfering with a peace officer. 

Once the group was on Agate, they marched to 11th and officers guided them to head west with the flow of traffic. This worked until the crowd reached Hilyard Street, where the group again attempted to make it to Broadway.  Officers used their PA to tell the crowd they were blocking traffic and needed to get on the sidewalk.

A man later identified as Eric W. Howanietz, age 42, of Eugene, was encouraging the crowd to go through the officers and march to Broadway. A large part of the group followed his direction and broke through the police line while Howanietz continued to instigate the crowd. 

Officers developed probable cause for his arrest and went to take him into custody (roughly 1:30 in video). He resisted, grabbed another protestor’s leg and fell on his stomach to keep himself attached to something so officers could not place him into handcuffs. Officers struggled with Howanietz while surrounded by people who were screaming and threatening them, creating a potentially very dangerous situation. During this, at least one person spit on an officer.

Multiple officers were able to take Howanietz into custody (roughly 1:40 in video) and then transport him to the Lane County Jail on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Admonishments were resumed and the crowd all got on the sidewalks and went west to Pearl Street.  At Pearl they turned north and remained on the sidewalks until Broadway.  At Broadway they reentered the roadway and went to Willamette Street where they gave a couple speeches, then broke up and went home.  

In addition to the MRT, Eugene Police staffing included Patrol, Drone Team, Investigations, and Central Lane 911 dispatchers. (Case 24-00877)

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