Protesters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, fall as a driver crashes into them during Friday’s demonstration against the overthrow of Roe v. Wade. (Photo: Lyz Lenz)
A truck driver collided with a group of protesters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Friday as they crossed the street during an otherwise peaceful protest against the toppling of Roe v. Wade†
The unidentified male driver of a Ford truck rammed several protesters – all women – at the end of a procession, rolled over a woman’s ankle and sent her to hospital, witnesses said.
“He tried to kill them,” said a local journalist and witness to the attack, Lyz Lenz. “These women see him coming and a number of people put out their hands to stop him. And he just keeps going.”
Multiple witnesses, including one of the victims, described the scene in interviews with HuffPost: The male driver was waiting behind several cars at a red light downtown as a crowd of protesters crossed the street.
He grew “impatience,” as several witnesses said, and stepped on the gas, maneuvering around several cars to ram protesters.
In video taken by Linn County supervisor Stacey Walker, several women stand in front of the truck with arms outstretched, trying to get the driver to stop. But the driver keeps pushing forward and knocks them over, injuring several of them.
One of the protesters, Alexis Russell, can be seen in the video holding a protest sign and reaching into the driver’s side window as the truck rolls forward. She told HuffPost that she was trying to steer him away from the other protesters.
“I had a fight-or-flight response,” Russell told HuffPost. “He had his window down. I grabbed the back of the window to keep up with his car and tried to grab the steering wheel. At one point he grabbed my plate and tore it, and I fell, and he ran over one of the girls.”
Russell said she was “shaken” but otherwise unharmed. The woman at the hospital, she said, was “completely distraught”.
City Councilor Ashley Vanorny confirmed that Cedar Rapids Police had been called and were investigating.
Several witnesses argued that the attack was motivated by anger at the protest, which was just one of many that flared up across the country after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood on Friday.
Molly Monk, a witness, told HuffPost the man gave no audible indication that he was anti-abortion, “but he did his best to hit protesters in the street who had very visible, very clear signs that they were pro-choice. ”
“I get the feeling that the pro-life movement is a complete lie when, to be against people protesting for abortion rights, you try to kill them on my street, in my neighborhood,” Monk said. “It makes me very, very sad, very hurt and very angry that this is what people think pro-life means.”
Despite recent calls from Republican lawmakers to protect their fellow abortion opponents from harm after Friday’s Supreme Court ruling, the anti-abortion movement a long history of violence†
In the past 43 years, anti-abortion activists have committed at least 11 murders, 26 attempted murders, 956 known threats of injury or death, 614 stalking incidents and four kidnappings, according to the National Abortion Federation† The so-called ‘pro-life’ movement has bombed 42 abortion clinics, set fire to 194 and raised 667 bomb threats.
More on the Supreme Court’s abortion ruling:
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.