On Monday, Nov. 20, Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley released a statement calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. In the weeks since the Hamas attack on Israel triggered the Israel-Hamas War and an ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, protesters in Eugene and across the country have called for a ceasefire.
Saturday afternoon Nov. 18 a group of about 30 activists spanning generations gathered across the street from the Eugene Saturday Market demanding U.S. politicians call for a ceasefire in Gaza. Protesters marched downtown as well, yelling, “Senator Merkley you can’t hide; you can stop a genocide.” They also put up pro-Palestine flyers and handed out brochures detailing places to donate to and historical background on the Israel/Palestine conflict.
Organizer Kamryn Stringfield says she is happy with how much of a melting pot of people showed up for the protest. “There was a surprising mix of people that are really young and frustrated with what’s happening in Gaza and people that are really old and have been involved with anti-war movements for decades,” Stringfield says.
What stuck out most to Stringfield was how energized the crowd was. She says people usually get tired after an hour of protesting, but that people were able to maintain their stamina and peacefully protest with little to no issue.
Two days later, early Monday morning, Merkley released a statement calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. In a press release the senator writes, “After grimly witnessing accelerating body counts, many Americans, including thousands of Oregonians, have raised their voices to say more must be done to stop the carnage. I agree. So today I am calling for a ceasefire.”
Merkley went on to say that in order for the ceasefire to “work,” Hamas must release all of the hostages and surrender control of Gaza.
Stringfield called Merkley’s demand for a ceasefire a “victory” for activists in Oregon and says that she hopes this will lead to “more victories like stopping U.S. aid to Israel.”
Saturday’s protest was put on by Stringfield and the other activists who help her run the ProPalestineEugene Instagram account, where she says people can find more ceasefire protest information.
“Pay attention to coalition groups around you and see how you can get involved, write letters to your representatives and ask them to support a ceasefire and stop U.S. military aid to Israel,” Stringfield says. “Understand that your anger and frustration with what’s happening in Gaza is valid and nobody can take that away from you.”