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‘Anticapitalist’ marchers clash with police on Capitol Hill

Images: Alex Garland for CHS

A group of around 60 demonstrators tossed rocks, broke windows and smashed fences as they marched and ran through the streets around Broadway and Pike/Pine Saturday night in an anticapitalist protest in solidarity with recent Ferguson-related demonstrations.

Marchers masked up, got a pep talk and headed out from Seattle Central’s plaza around 10:30 PM on a night with temperatures in the mid 20s. Anarchy banners were on display, not the posters and signs that had been on display in the week’s Ferguson demonstrations.

“Feel free to express your rage anytime and anywhere, but if you’d like company then join us Saturday night,” organizers wrote on the Facebook event notifying participants of the event.

Police reported that demonstrators Saturday night thew rocks and smashed out windows of a police vehicel and the Ferrari dealership at 12th and Union as the groups cat-and-moused their way around the periphery of the Pike/Pine entertainment district. The East Precinct was once again locked down after a busy week of demonstrations in the area. The streets around 12th/Pine were closed to traffic during the march.

There were no reports of arrests in the early going but the crowd continued to clash with police past 11 PM. Around 11:15 PM, police radio broadcasts indicated that the crowd had rapidly dispersed though officers were told to remain ready for continued activity in the area. SPD reported that one officer was being treated for a minor facial cut after being hit with a rock during the incident.

There were no reports of police using pepper spray of explosive crowd control devices Saturday night.

The relatively brief outburst of Saturday night’s protest violence came in heavy contrast to previous demonstrations this week where protesters were mostly peaceful and a relatively small amount of property damage and no significant injuries were reported.

UPDATE 11/30/14 12:00 PM: SPD reports that the main damage was limited to the smashed SPD vehicle window and dealership window we reported — plus some paint that was thrown. “Officers halted the protester at 12 Ave and Pike Street as they attempted to walk to the East precinct,” the report states. “The demonstrators began to run throughout the Pike-Pine corridor with officers watching closely. During the fracas some demonstrators broke a plate glass window at a local business on 12th Avenue.”

Police were unable to locate “the specific individuals from within the crowd committing the crimes,” the report notes, “but continued to follow and monitor the group.”

Following the rapid dissolution of the crowd, a line of officers forms to block any large groups of protesters from heading downtown at Pine and Boren (Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

Following the rapid dissolution of the crowd, a line of officers forms to block any large groups of protesters from heading downtown at Pine and Boren (Image: Alex Garland for CHS)

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26 thoughts on “‘Anticapitalist’ marchers clash with police on Capitol Hill

  1. How is “anticapitalist” vandalism at all showing solidarity with Ferguson protesters? Seattle loves a good protest, but still hasn’t learned how to do it properly.

    • The police are the repressive arm of the State. They serve a key function, not in protecting citizens (http://tinyurl.com/bt6xxmp), but in enforcing a social order conducive for the flow of capital. It is easier to attack capital then it is the police given the asymmetry between the State’s capacity for violence and that of the rest of us. So it makes sense that those who reject the role of the police and their unchecked murder of young people of color would target capital.

      This is not protesting it is direct action. Those marching were not appealing to any body of power but were instead seeking to harness their own power against capital and the state. The sooner the latter win ground the sooner the former will find it difficult to kill future Micheal Browns.

      What was the last “proper protest” you went to? What did it accomplish? Do you have even the slightest clue about what you are talking about? Or do you just have a computer and internet connection?

      Perhaps keep your tired liberal drivel to yourself next time.

      • This form of “direct action” only serves to detract from protests and messages which seek to progress and improve society. What does your direct action of throwing a brick through a window of a business accomplish towards your goal of “harness(ing) power against capital and the state”?

        What it seems to result in is not any harnessing of power or growth of support or increased understanding in the broader populate, but the serving as both a distraction from, and an invalid discrediting of, protests that seek accountability from the state and responsibility from capital.

        Now, in addition to the institutionalized racism and politics of greed and destruction which infests and permeates our society, your temper tantrum of violence and destruction must now also be overcome. Do you seriously think that 60 people throwing rocks and tearing down fences while marauding through a neighborhood results in “power” being “harnessed against the state and capital”? Really?

        Wild, directionless lashing out is much like a child’s temper tantrum. It is not indicative of a perspective which is seeking to build and lift up those downtrodden or make oppressors accountable for their actions of oppression or capital exploiters responsible for something beyond their own wealth expansion.

        Thanks for giving those who dismiss protests as “hooligans” something that can use as validation for those perceptions, from which they dismiss all others and, in doing so, enforce and entrench either in positions of power or perspectives of apathy and dismissal.

        Perhaps, rather than dismissing the previous commenter asking what you are attempting to accomplish, you should give some thought to the impact your what you are doing before you undertake it next time. For, in this, it seems you have not taken any action that will serve your stated purpose, but rather helped to defeat it: by enabling and entrenching a dismissive status quo.

      • “The police are the repressive arm of the State.”

        Oh, no radical ideology on display there. How about “for the vast majority, the police are all that stands between us and chaos, sought by small minded ideologues who think they should impose all their hare-brained answers on the rest of us”?

        Go back to whatever rock you crawled out from under, and let the majority get back to work. You know, work?

      • And please tell us exactly what your juvenile “direct action” accomplished.

        Perhaps keep your tired anarchist drivel to yourself next time.

      • If the intended outcome of the “direct action” was “increased repression by the police, backed by the people who are ostensibly the ones being repressed,” congratulations! Mission accomplished! That’s some effective direct acting!

        I once went to a protest in support of gay marriage. Protests like it got gay marriage legalized. And to celebrate, I’m going to go buy a Ferrari.

      • I’m tempted to reply to you with something dismissive and mean, but all these people beneath me have done so much more eloquently than I could ever muster.

      • list of anarchist accomplishments from last night:

        1) threw baby tantrums
        2) threw rocks
        3) “attacked capitalism” by increasing insurance rates and the flow of capital to insurance company capitalist pockets
        4) “attacked capitalism” by creating click bait and news stories that capitalist news organizations use to make more money
        5) made the police look really good for not spanking your baby bottoms
        6) got too cold and went home to mom and dads Bellevue capitalist enclave early after “changing the world” with your little rocks and broken glass and shifting money to some of the worst capitalists around.

      • Yes, because Socialist states have a great track record and sympathy for demonstrations against the state?

        If you are an anarchistic, well good luck with that…humans hate a vacuum just like nature..

        Protests do not accomplish must, I agree with that part..you know how you achieve results in a voter lead system? Vote people out of office that do not share your views or move to an area with a larger number of people that share your views and create your own community.

        Otherwise if you think violence(and attacking property is a form of violence) is the answer…well the “State” has a much deeper well to draw from to suppress violence than 50 guys have to inflict it.

  2. does this kind of thing happen in other neighborhoods?

    i only ever seem to read about it happening in ours – or by extension, westlake park. maybe i miss the news about anarchists taking their message to the main streets of ballard; or even bellevue. talk about capitalism on display.

    i wonder how long their rock throwing would last on the other side of the lake?

    • Agreed. Attacking any neighborhood or community, especially the one with arguable the biggest heart and social conscience, is really counter productive. Please go read the user comments in The Seattle Times, there you’ll find your target audience is located in the shiny and shimmering Kemper Freeman empire found in Bellevue.

    • But it’s not “fun” in Ballard or Bellevue. This isn’t a protest, it’s children acting out. Where do children play? On a playground.

      Plus it’s way easier to slink back to your little rat hole when it’s all over. From Ballard you’d totally get busted taking the #17 home then transferring downtown to the 10 or the 43. Especially when you’re still dressed in your AnarchoMan costume with the mask and cape.

  3. Thank you Tom for your eloquent response. If “Duh duh duh” prefers direct action he can start by heeding the wishes of Michael Browns parents. “We respectfully ask that you please keep your protests peaceful. Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction”
    And if he wants to go further he can join the campaign of Michaels parents to have cameras installed on police officers.
    These two parents are in mourning. They have lost a child and I can think of nothing worse. Heed their wishes above all else.

  4. And i bet they all used their capitalist iPhones etc to text and make FB posts while they were doing it. I’m a fan of free speech, but there people need to learn the notion of respect. This is an immature, jealous move.

    • “And i bet they all used their capitalist iPhones etc to text and make FB posts while they were doing it.”

      These are people who have only experienced the laissez-faire and trickle-down capitalism of Friedman and Reagan. The capitalism that has brought us income disparity, fraud and oligarchy, not to mention the Great Recession. Alternatives don’t have to eliminate private investment, just look at Sweden.

  5. This would have been the perfect group to arrest for blocking road without permit. At some point the city needs to stand up to these so-called anarchists out for night of excitement.

  6. I don’t even know where to begin. There are so many things that upset me about the stupidity of this “protest.” Destroying property is never an answer to anything. These spoiled rotten low-lifes ought to return to playing violent video games in their Mommy’s basement. I notice that the pictured criminals are so courageous that they are all covering their faces. Round ’em up and drop ’em in Iraq and/or Syria where ISIS can deal with them. I am so fed up with these self-indulgent little twits it isn’t even remotely amusing.

  7. I respect the role of street protests in accomplishing what cannot be done at the ballot box and am sympathetic to a lot of the shit the Professional Capitol Hill Protest Clan is pushing against (erosion of civil liberties and police militarization in this country) but there’s nothing less respectful to the plight of the black community than a bunch of white Evergreen grads hijacking a peaceful protest and committing acts of violence, thereby reinforcing terrible stereotypes about black protests. How is this not a Portlandia sketch yet?

  8. Pingback: Ferguson notes: Monday rally at Westlake, Jackson’s words at Mt. Zion | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle