‘Stop Cop City’ March Met With Police Response
Once again, on April 29, Eugenians took to the streets to protest the development of “Cop City”—the $90 million police training facility in Atlanta, Georgia’s Weelaunee Forest—and the killing of environmental activist Manuel Esteban Paez Terán, the first during a protest in modern U.S. history, while defending the forest.
There had previously been a candlelight vigil at the Owen Rose Garden for Paez Terán, who went by the name “Tortuguita,” on Jan. 20.
An initial independent autopsy requested by Tortuguita’s family showed that they were likely seated in an upright position with their hands up when many of the shots occurred. This week, the DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s Office’s autopsy report was released showing that Tortuguita did not have gunshot residue on their hands, dispelling law enforcement’s assertions that they were shot at first and then releasing an image of the supposed weapon used.
Tortuguita’s death was ruled a homicide.
The Eugene protest began at 6 p.m. with people slowly arriving at the start point near the 13th & Olive apartment complex.
At the same time, Zachary Caster—a known local right-wing provocateur—arrived and circled the block several times, taking photos of those who gathered.
After about an hour, the group of about 30 began to march. At the front, two banners that read “Stop Cop City, Eugene – Atlanta” and “fuck 12” followed by the group of protesters and capped-off with another banner in honor of Tortuguita. They marched through downtown and chanted phrases including “A-C-A-B, all cops are bastards;” “AK-47, send the cops to piggy heaven;” “viva, viva, Tortuguita;” and “cops kill, trees give life.”
Near the Eugene Library, one man yelled to the crowd “fuck Atlanta, worry about Eugene.” In response, activists tried to explain that what happens in Atlanta can have an impact on what happens here in Oregon.
An example of this is House Bill 2772, a new domestic anti-terrorism bill that is making its way through the Oregon legislature with bipartisan support. If passed, the proposed bill—created to combat the rise of right-wing extremism—could be used to target leftists and, much like in the case of Atlanta, environmental activists and forest defenders.
Not long after the march had begun, an EPD cruiser began tailing the march while others began to block-off side streets and the intersections, leaving the crowd to decide that they could only go forward onto W. Broadway Alley, effectively kettling them in the neighborhood.
From there, the group splintered into many smaller ones going in various directions.
A little while later, DSM caught up with two EPD cruisers following a small group from the march with their lights on to Old Nick’s Pub. There, they surrounded the building for a few minutes prior to leaving.
A representative for Old Nick’s Pub did not respond to DSM by press time.