As the nation reacted to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s speech in Cleveland, a large protest marched through downtown Seattle and Capitol Hill Thursday to speak out against police violence toward the black community.
“I’m sick of white supremacy,” said one 19-year-old woman as the group of hundreds of marchers circled up for a session of statements at 12th and Pine in front of the East Precinct headquarters. “I’m mourning children I haven’t even conceived yet.”
“They see our skin as a weapon,” said another.
Thursday’s march had been organized for weeks by local Black Lives Matter activists following the killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling — two black men shot to death in two days by police — earlier this month. It started with a rally in Westlake and quickly was accompanied by a significant contingent of Seattle Police as the marchers took to the streets and intersections of downtown, blocking traffic and chanting. Law enforcement was staged at I-5 onramps during the protest but the streets around 12th and Pine were not blocked off by police near the precinct headquarters as they are for some protests and marches.
Protestors standing across the street from SPD’s East Precinct held a sign that read “No ‘good’ cops in a racist system.” CHS reported here on a Seattle proposal for a new bias-free policing law that would hold SPD officers to requirements laid out by a federal monitor as part of federal consent decree over excessive use of force practices against the department and make it easier for victims to report biased policing.
Thursday, the protesters arrived on Capitol Hill around 9 PM after hours of marching downtown. For around 30 minutes, marchers took turns at the bullhorn or called out what they had to say in the call and response style popularized during Occupy actions. Organizers urged people to come to the mic to tell their experiences, and speak out. The most enthusiastic applause of the night? When a young black child had a turn at the bullhorn and shouted, “Black lives matter!”
A block away, groups filled Cal Anderson on the hunt for Pokemon. Meanwhile on 12th Ave — because this is Capitol Hill 2016 — some of the cast of the Real World stood in the street away from the protest to watch and record video.
The 12th and Pine circle ended with a call for support for Block the Bunker, a campaign to stop construction of a new $160 million headquarters for Seattle’s North Precinct. Then the marchers headed back through the streets to downtown where the protest continued.