Over 100 activists gathered at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza on Oak Street Thursday afternoon to protest recent military actions taken by President Donald Trump against Iran.
On Jan. 3, President Trump ordered a drone strike on Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, killing the general during the airstrikes, according to CNN. Iran later responded with missile strikes on an Iraqi airbases that hosted U.S. and coalition troops.
In Eugene, a group began forming next to the street holding signs that said ‘Honk for Peace’ and ‘No War with Iran.’
“I protested the Iraq war in 2003, marching with my 3-year-old grandson. I feared that the conflict would continue into his adulthood,” protester Carol Scherer said. “I’m afraid that if the conflict escalates, I will lose him to the draft the same way I lost his grandfather during Vietnam.”
State Senator James Manning of the 7th district, who represents parts of Lane County, and Community Alliance of Lane County member Johanis Tadeo addressed the crowd during the event.
Tadeo spoke on the effects a potential conflict could have on the community.
“We are investing billions of dollars in [defense] when we could be investing in our communities, our healthcare, correct public safety and education,” Tadeo said.
Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley sent field representatives to read pre-prepared statements for their individual offices.
“The time is now for congress to ensure this president does not unilaterally plunge our country into war,” said Senator Wyden’s Field Representative Juine Chada.
The statement from Senator Merkley’s office echoed a similar sentiment.
“President Trump and Secretary Pompeo are either dangerously inept or colossally ignorant,” Courtney Flanders, Senator Merkley’s field representative, said.
SenatorManning spoke about the toll on veterans that war may have. Half way through his speech, he was interrupted by a counter-protester.
A counter protester attempted to disrupt the protest by interrupting some of the guest speakers. Most of the counter protester’s interruptions implied that the killing of General Qasem Soleimani, and that he was guilty of killing hundreds of Americans. After numerous interruptions, the individual was asked to stay away from the protest.