[sixties-l] Fwd: Eugene Protests of 1970s (Not) Unlike Those Today

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Tue Jul 11 2000 - 19:23:19 CUT

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    >"I'm not an expert (on anarchists), but my feeling is
    >a lot of people involved in that group feel the
    >system is not particularly legitimate."
    >Eugene protests in the 1970s
    >not unlike those today
    >There's one big difference, though: Anti-war protesters set
    >a fire, causing $300,000 in damage
    >Wednesday, July 5, 2000
    > >From The Associated Press
    >EUGENE -- The scene is both strange and familiar. A line
    >of baton-wielding police marches down a Eugene street,
    >and a crowd of mostly young protesters breaks into a run
    >as officers clad in riot gear begin their sweep. Only it's not
    >two weekends ago, it's 30 years ago.
    >Robert Clark and Pat Larion have seen this kind of thing
    >Neither the anarchist, anti-corporate protests of two weeks
    >ago nor the downtown rampage a year earlier showed them
    >anything new. They had their share of it during years of
    >anti-war protests that started around 1967.
    >Clark, who became president of the University of Oregon in
    >1969, and Larion, patrol division commander for the
    >Eugene Police Department in the anti-war era, had their
    >hands full in those days.
    >"Times are different; times have changed," said Larion, now
    >retired. "Society in general looks at things differently today
    >than they did back in the '60s or the '70s."
    >Not everything is different. By and large, Eugene residents
    >had little patience for the riots that seemed to erupt almost
    >weekly 30 years ago, just as a large chunk of the
    >population today has denounced the more extreme
    >anarchist tactics.
    >Students then did give Eugeneans more to dislike. They
    >set fire to an ROTC building and a gymnasium where some
    >ROTC gear was stored, causing more than $300,000
    >damage. When police moved in to stop them, protesters
    >pelted them with rocks. When firefighters came to douse
    >the blaze, they pelted the trucks with rocks.
    >Through it all, though, Clark said he never felt he couldn't
    >reach out to students.
    >"I had a good deal of communication with students. I felt
    >that our relationships were cordial no matter how different
    >we were in our attitudes," said Clark, who stepped down as
    >president in 1975 and still lives in Eugene.
    >Clark was widely praised and occasionally denounced for
    >the restraint and diplomacy he showed during that
    >turbulent era. Clark's opposition to bringing in the National
    >Guard to quell the disturbances, which he felt would only
    >ratchet up the violence, brought one of the conflict's more
    >memorable quotes.
    >A representative of then-Gov. Tom McCall visited Clark to
    >discuss the National Guard issue.
    >"I told him that if the governor wants to run the university,
    >tell him to come down to Eugene to do it," Clark recalled.
    >McCall compromised. The result was a National Guard unit
    >stationed on the edge of town that would only respond if
    >requested. It was used only once to back up police who
    >were trying to remove more than 50 protesters holding a
    >sit-in at Johnson Hall, and Clark's fears proved justified.
    >"I'm on the back steps of Johnson Hall and here comes a
    >column of National Guardsmen," said Larion, who was in
    >charge of the operation. "They come marching up behind
    >Johnson Hall and, of course, when the crowd saw them it
    >got really nasty. After about two minutes, I told that guy to
    >take his men and get out of there as quick as possible."
    >When it was over, Larion said the department received
    >several commendations for showing restraint. "Our
    >philosophy was, the more violent the police department
    >became, the more violent the students became," he said.
    >"It's a progressive thing, so somebody has to stop and
    >Larion commended Police Chief Jim Hill, who served under
    >him before he retired, for the job he had done.
    >But if he were to offer a small piece of advice based on
    >experience, it would be: Don't go too far.
    >During the Vietnam protests, a radical fringe advocated
    >violent measures and police pulled no punches in their
    >drive to maintain order. Today there's also a more violent
    >fringe and police have stepped up their crowd control
    >And in the past movement and the one of today, the
    >government is seen by many as no one's friend.
    >"There is a similarity in the sense that a lot of people in the
    >anti-war movement believed the government was acting
    >immorally and illegally in pursuing a war that was never
    >declared by Congress," says UO sociology professor Greg
    >McLauchlan. "I'm not an expert (on anarchists), but my
    >feeling is a lot of people involved in that group feel the
    >system is not particularly legitimate."

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