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Eugene OR: City Wants to Put Citizens in Middle of Protest

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  • Dan Clore
    From msnbc.com: City wants to put citizens in middle of protests by John Capell May 26, 2000- The next time that protests break out in Eugene, the City of
    Message 1 of 1 , May 30, 2000
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      From msnbc.com:

      City wants to put citizens in middle of protests

      by John Capell

      May 26, 2000- The next time that protests break
      out in Eugene, the City of Eugene is asking
      people to get in the middle of it despite the
      dangers. It is part of a plan to recruit "impartial
      observers". The impartial observers will
      essentially be witnesses that will be able to
      answer questions about what really happened
      during a protest that gets out of control.

      June 18th, the "Take Back the Streets" march that
      turned into a riot was one of the growing lists of
      protests that have turned violent. Police and
      anarchists seem to come to protest expecting to
      clash. Cops have been hurt by flying rocks and
      bottles while protestors have suffered pepper spray,
      tear gas and arrests. On top of this, innocent
      bystanders have also come close to suffering real
      harm.

      Now, Eugene's Human Rights and Police commissioners
      are proposing to try to turn down this rising heat by
      sending civilians right into the middle of all of it.
      Greg Rikhoff, Eugene's human rights manager, said,
      "They literally would be watching the incident. They
      would literally be observing what occurred. They would
      be obeying all directions and orders given them by
      police officers, but they would be absolutely,
      positively watching what was going on."

      Some anarchists are questioning how impartial the
      observers could possible be. Marshall, an anarchist,
      commented, "There is a big debate with valid arguments
      on both sides about whether laws ought to be broken and
      whether property ought to be destroyed and I've got a
      pretty good guess as to which side of that debate the
      impartial observers would be on."

      Citizens also have concerns about the proposal. Joey
      Hepner is one of the people who has to repair the
      continuing vandalism at Broadway Place, where the June
      First tree riot occurred two years ago. He is not happy
      with those who damage his city, but he does have
      concerns about the idea of standing by, essentially
      asking them not to do it. He explained, "It depends on
      how aggravated they were. I might run."

      Jordan DeWein, another Eugene resident, added, "Part
      of me would say, "No, I'd rather not be around or close
      to something where I could potentially be hurt.""

      Those proposing the idea acknowledge the risks, but
      they say that it is worth it because it might end up
      cooling down the confrontations. They hope to recruit
      their observers before the anniversary of the June 18th
      riot.
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