>"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
>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
>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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