Protestors from numerous activist groups met today in front of the Wayne Lyman Morse Federal Courthouse to speak out against President Trump’s national emergency declaration.
The group, sponsored by Indivisible Eugene, MoveOn and Win Without War, has met at the same spot every Tuesday for over two years, beginning just after the 2016 election. This gathering, falling on Presidents Day, was organized last minute as a “crisis response rally” in order to mobilize “against Trump’s fake crisis and racist deportation force and to stand with immigrant, Muslim, and Black and brown communities to stop Trump’s dangerous and illegal power grab,” according to a press release.
Enough people showed up to crowd the sidewalk in front of the courthouse. Volunteer and speaker Jerry Samaniego addressed the crowd from the steps as protestors cheered and waved their signs, emblazoned with anti-Trump slogans and calls to action.
“Show me what democracy looks like!” Samaniego called. “This is what democracy looks like!” the crowd called back.
“Show me what justice looks like!” came another call. “This is what justice looks like!” came the response.
Many kinds of people were among the crowd, including retired people, workers, students and a couple of children. While the event was focused on the recently declared national emergency, the signs held by the many protestors represented a wider range of issues, including gun control, women’s rights and immigration reform.
“Trump, you can’t just decide to call a national emergency on this whim to meet what your base wants,” said Jerri Linn, Indivisible Eugene’s social media manager. “That was a promise he made in 2016. He hasn’t built any wall yet.”
Joshua Newman, Indivisible Eugene’s manager of logistics, spoke to the gathering’s role in giving the frustrated an outlet. He told a story about watching the election unfold remotely as he and his wife were traveling through Vietnam. When the final results came in, Newman’s wife burst into tears.
“People were letting out gasps of surprise. The Americans on the train, there were people walking up and down apologizing,” said Newman. Many of the protesters, including Newman, said the weekly event offered them catharsis.
After listening to the speakers, the crowd occupied all four corners of a nearby intersection and continued chanting and picketing to grab the attention of passing drivers and pedestrians.
“Donald Trump, hear our call!” someone yelled out. “We don’t want your stupid wall!” replied the crowd.
Many cars honked in support as they passed. At one point, a white pickup truck sputtered a large cloud of heavy, black smoke into the crowd while turning a corner, drawing angry cries from some protesters who saw it as an intentional slight.
“This is democracy!” shouted the crowd.
From the steps of the courthouse, speakers urged everyone present to tweet or email their senators every single day. The protesters will return tomorrow, as they have each Tuesday now since the election.
Further events can be seen each Tuesday, 12-1, at the Wayne Lyman Morse Federal Courthouse.