Militant Journalism

Seattle: Almost daily protests in solidarity with Ferguson

Supportive shopper in Westlake Mall

Since the announcement of the St. Louis grand jury verdict on Nov. 24, demonstrators have been on the streets in Seattle, demanding justice for Mike Brown and all victims of police killing.

On Nov. 24, hundreds of protesters gathered at 6 pm at Westlake, and marched through the streets, blocking intersections.

At the corner of Pike and 6th, some protesters sat down and chanted “F— the police!” A smug white male bystander, snapping photos of the demonstration on his phone, shouted out, “You shouldn’t be saying that when the police are letting you do this!”

A protestor shot back: “It’s not the police, it’s the Constitution that lets us do this!”

After heading up to Capitol Hill and the Central District, some protesters managed to get on to the I-5 freeway, including well-known rapper Macklemore. Cops peppersprayed protesters and arrested five people Monday.

The next day, thousands of demonstrators marched during the day, joined by high school students who walked out of of several schools and marched all over the city.

On Nov. 28, “Black Friday,” demonstrators gathered again at Westlake in the heart of the shopping district to #BlackOutBlackFriday in solidarity with Ferguson. Marchers entered the Westlake Mall, riding the escalators to the top level where they chanted “Black Lives Matter” before exiting the building. The majority of shoppers in the mall seemed supportive, including one woman who prominently gave marchers two thumbs up.

Following an impromptu speakout in the rain, marchers continued up Pine St. Passing the underground public transit station which connects to many of the department stores, some protesters entered the station before transit cops jumped in and tried to close the gates to the station.

This led to a stand off with transit bike cops trying to push the crowd back while protesters tried to keep the gate open. This reporter had entered the station with the first wave of marchers, but went back up to the entrance to see what was happening. After verbally confronting the cops, I was grabbed and literally thrown out of the station into the crowd, where others helped me to my feet.

Liberation spoke with Ivy, a seasoned activist who had also gone down into the station. She was near two teenaged Black women protesters, and stayed with them when it was clear that they were in danger of being isolated and surrounded by police. The police pushed her and pulled her, she said, but she and the two younger women managed to get out of the station safely.

The marchers then entered the Pacific Place Mall and again rode the escalators up to the highest level, chanting all the while. At this point, the crowd appeared to have grown to more than 500. As demonstrators left the building, some blocked the intersection, confronting police head on while others started marching towards the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

At Pine and Broadway, marchers took four and a half minutes of silence for Mike Brown and all victims of police violence. The march continued after a driver almost hit a demonstrator with his vehicle and police moved in. Demonstrators went around the block and took the intersection of Pike and Broadway and then Pike and 10th. Eventually, demonstrators made their way back to Westlake where there was a tree-lighting ceremony going on, chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot.”

Some five arrests were made, and police used flashbangs and pepperspray. More protests are planned for the coming days.


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