Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Seattle May Day Protests, Violence, and Disappointment

Song for this post: "Bomb The World" ~ Michael Franti & Spearhead"

I told myself I wouldn't do this today.  But I'm just so disappointed in, well, everyone.

Yesterday Seattle was host to May Day protests hosted peacefully by Occupy Seattle. Unfortunately, the protests were infiltrated by Black Bloc and quickly turned violent. If you don't know what Black Bloc is, look it up on Wikipedia. I'm not linking it here because, honestly, I want nothing to do with giving them free SEO.

By 2:30 our Mayor had issued emergency clearance for police to confiscate any items that could be used as a weapon. He did this to ensure that the planned 5:00 PM protest and march, again hosted by Occupy, would be peaceful.

One of the great things about Seattle is that we're a protest friendly city. Our local government respects our right to assemble and exercise our freedom of speech. Hell, our culture encourages it here. There aren't very many large US cities who handle it as well as we do. Oakland, New York and Chicago are also known for their demonstrations but the outcome is rarely as peaceful.

Unfortunately, there's usually some kind of violence.

Yesterday Black Bloc vandalized businesses and parked vehicles, bashing out store windows and car windows. They rushed the Federal Courthouse building and bashed in the windows, set off small incendiary devises.  Fires were set off outside Nike Town, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and the Federal Courthouse. Multiple buildings went into lock down. Buildings and street signs were graffitied with anarchist symbols and hate speech.  Epithets were screamed at people visiting from other countries.

Here is video of a small part of what broke out yesterday: 6th & Pike

A portion of this was visible from my office window.

By the time I left work it was basically a police state.  Literally hundreds of police vehicles, SWAT cars, and stallions stopped all flow of traffic in preparation for the 5:00 PM demonstration.  It was eerily quiet save for the crazies that screamed incoherent madness in front of me.

I got out of the demonstration area early. After witnessing protests this last winter outside my office I knew better.  That doesn't mean it doesn't worry my family.  Multiple family members and friends who know I work across the street from a prime demonstration area called yesterday to make sure everyone was okay.

This morning I'm greeted with news of police violence.  It's not shocking and I have to commend our police force for doing the best they could. Much like the protesters, our police force came with the intent of executing a non violent demonstration. They wanted to enforce the protester's right to peacefully assemble. But there's always going to be that one moment when things get crowded, heated, and out of control.

I'm just so disappointed in our city today. In everyone. But mostly in Black Bloc, whoever they are.  I came to work yesterday. My building is in the hot zone for protests.  Most demonstrations are conducted LITERALLY across the street. Chase Bank is next door. Seeing things like that out my office window made me terrified.

I'm disappointed in the people who ruined a peaceful and necessary demonstration just so they could destroy property and instill fear in those of us who have good intentions. I'm angry that we were put in a situation that made us afraid to leave the building. I'm angry that I got into the city today and had to hear about police violence (when really, they're not to blame at all).

It also makes me angry that these poor representations of anarchists held signs that said "We Are Legion." DON'T YOU DARE align yourself with the very real Anonymous movement. They've worked very hard to set a lot of pieces into motion in the background before this year's election.

What was your purpose, Black Bloc? To muddy the already confusing and disintegrating message of Occupy?

It all just makes me cry. I can't handle it. Why are people so full of hate and violence? What good is it doing you?

God. I just can't even look at the pictures without tearing up.  My body and soul can't abide hate.


  1. I totally understand your position. I'm pretty pissed about it myself and I'm not witness to it. I can't imagine how infuriating it would be to watch it unfold and be helpless to its chaos.

  2. I second Laci's sentiment. And I can't help being a little bit paranoid and conspiracy-theoristic about it. I mean, who runs Black Bloc? Maybe it's a right-wing tool to distract people from the true nature of the Occupy Movement and Anonymous.

    Sorry. I don't usually get all conspiracy-ish. But it's just kind of weird.

    1. Black Bloc is quite a bit older but is just gaining speed again. I hate them. They don't seem to have any kind of intelligible agenda.

  3. My boss just now in re: to Black Bloc vandalizing businesses and personal property:

    "If we want to be cynics we could just say, 'Hey! Look at the tax revenue and job creation that nice group of people just created for Seattle!'"

    LOLing so much right now.