EUGENE, Ore. -- Two counter-protests will take place on Saturday in opposition to a planned open-carry conservative rally in downtown Eugene.
The "God, Guns and Liberty" rally is asking participants to stand up for their Second Amendment rights and bring their guns. It initially drew attention after organizers said they planned to hold the event from 1 to 3 p.m. in front of the Lane County Courthouse -- the same time as PRIDE in the Park. Organizers said the scheduling conflict was purely coincidental and that they support the LGBTQ community.
Organizers of one of the counter-protests is distributing information online, speaking out against the rally's "gun-toting intimidation tactics."
The other is being held by Springfield-Eugene Showing Up for Racial Justice. Organizers told KEZI 9 News that participants will be chanting and singing without direct confrontation with those at the rally.
"We don't allow people to come to our downtown and create this atmosphere of fear without trying to counter that," said organizer Rose Wilde. "I don't think anybody needs violence in our downtown square."
Demonstrators with the "God, Guns and Liberty" rally said the presence of guns is not meant to incite violence. They said the rally changed its name from "God, Guns and Trump" to distance themselves from last weekend's mass shootings, which some attribute to President Donald Trump's rhetoric.
"Everybody that is a part of our organization goes through a massive background check," said Oregon III Percenters member Jamie Burnett. "We are legal with guns; we are well trained with guns; we are well-trained people. There won't be any issues unless someone is defending themselves."
The City of Eugene said it is working with organizers to ensure the safety of crowds attending the rally, counter-protests, farmer's market and PRIDE march.