About one thousand people gathered Sunday at the Eugene Federal Building to protest President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees from entry into the United States. this impromptu rally was one of many this weekend throughout the U.S.
The rally was organized with short notice, but hundreds of people filled the area in front of the federal building holding signs and chanting.
Ali Turki Ali spoke to the crowd. He came to Eugene from Syria over a year ago. His brother has since joined him but he’s still trying bring the rest of his family here. Now, he’s afraid that won’t happen.
Ali: “To my mother, to my family, I’m so sorry. I’ve tried everything I can to reunite with you.”
Ali said he feels he must give up but the crowd shouted back.
Crowd: “Don’t give up. Don’t give up.”
Amy, who didn’t want to give her last name held a sign with the poem from the Statue of Liberty. She says her grandparents escaped Nazi Germany and her family has always seen the United States as a place for people to come and be free of persecution. She became choked up as she spoke:
Amy: “To feel like that opportunity is shutting down for other people just makes me very upset. I wanted to get out here and be with other people and just raise my voice a little bit.”
She says she’s happy to live in Oregon where she feels her representatives are fighting for what’s right.
After the rally, about 150 people marched to Kesey Square to continue the protest. Eugene Police say protesters came across a vehicle with a pro-Trump flag on it. Police say the flag was partially burned but the occupant of the truck was unhurt.
Sandra Clark says she’s a climate activist and she’d like to see this protest become a movement.
Clark: “And I think what people can do to form a movement is to start joining together in groups, even groups that they haven’t been a part of before and having the only agenda be that of a commitment to a desire to be part of the resistance.”
Rodine: “I’m here mostly to show support for refugees, immigrants and other oppressed people by this new administration. My grandparents were actually refugees from Mexico so it strikes close to home.”
Sean Modine was one of about a thousand people at Sunday’s rally in Eugene. It was organized quickly It began as a Facebook post Saturday evening.