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Seattle’s weird weekend of protest: Anti-gentrification rally and Uncle Ike’s boycott, pro-police protest at City Hall, ‘Let Us Worship’ concert in Cal Anderson

Friday’s cannabis protest

With reporting by Lena Friedman — CHS Intern

After a summer of protest, this weekend in Seattle might have been the strangest bout of activism yet with a demonstration targeting the city’s marijuana industry and most notorious potrepreneur getting things started and a huge — and hugely reckless — Christian concert in Cal Anderson finishing things off Sunday night.

In between, hundreds of people showed up outside City Hall to protest planned Seattle Police budget cuts, hundreds protested for those cuts and changes — and, by the time it was all over, there was broken glass again on Capitol Hill.

Things started Friday night with activists from Engage Seattle leading an “anti-gentrification rally and Uncle Ike’s boycott” encircling two of the Ian Eisenberg-owned cannabis shops.

“We are gathered here today to boycott Ike’s not because it’s successful, but because we are fed up with the racist lies, the hypocrisy, and the blatant and obvious and visible gentrification,” an organizer said in front of Uncle Ike’s flagship store on 23rd and Union, a prominent intersection where Black people were frequently arrested for selling marijuana and other drugs.

The Uncle Ike’s chain of pot shops continues to attract hundreds of protestors amid a growing campaign centered around racism within the cannabis industry.

Among the demands directed at Uncle Ike’s, organizers called for new store openings like the E Olive Way spot to be halted, to have a recorded meeting with Eisenberg and “discuss his role in gentrification and the impact on the Black community in Seattle,” and for 15% of of the business’s monthly profit to go toward an anti-gentrification land fund. Organizers are asking protestors to boycott the chain and call district attorney Dan Satterberg to dismiss existing marijuana-related charges.

Protestors first gathered at the Uncle Ike’s location on 15th and Republican, where speakers addressed racial inequities in the legal marijuana industry. With chants like “until we see equality, no more Ike’s for you and me,” protesters marched through the streets until they reached 23rd and Union where speakers, teach-ins and drag performances continued into the night.

“The criminalization of local dealers and users of illicit substances leads to time behind bars, violence at the hands of the police and displacement of communities,” a speaker from the University of Washington’s Black Lives Matter chapter told the crowd. “The Eisenbergs just happened to sweep in when weed was legalized and capitalize on an industry in a city where no Black-owned weed shops exist.”

Local photographer Scott Baerst covered Sunday night’s event in Cal Anderson here

Sunday in Cal Anderson, the scene also included singing and dancing and a large crowd — but here almost nobody was wearing a mask.

Charismatic Christian pastor Sean Feucht continued his tour in the Pacific Northwest with a concert Sunday night in the park that was part evangelical revival, part provocative protest of the state’s mask mandate and safety precautions in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

The “You Be The One” rally on the “Let Us Worship” tour stop in Seattle included dancing and music as well as a bout of communal baptism in the middle of the Capitol Hill park that remains officially “temporarily closed” after the protest zone and camp sweep in early July.

The Stranger’s Rich Smith reported on Sunday’s appearance and Feucht’s odd connection to the movement around George Floyd:

The killing of Floyd also touched Feucht and his band of believers. Shortly after the killing, one of them claimed God spoke with him and directed him to organize a nationwide virus revival tour. They’ve been traveling (and raising money) ever since, spreading vague messages about “UNIFYING THE CHURCH” and “racial reconciliation,” which apparently requires people to establish a “vertical relationship with God” that will presumably create a horizontal relationship with other human beings. Or something. I don’t know, this was just the shit he said. (It’s worth noting the crowd was almost entirely white, and that many Black leaders call for reparations—not some sort of personal, spiritual “reconciliation.”)

Feucht’s next stop is planned to be Federal Way.

Earlier Sunday, hundreds rallied against SPD budget cuts and layoffs in an event at City Hall. “I hope that tomorrow’s vote they’re being influenced to vote no. Because the ignored majority is finally being heard. The unreasonable activism must stop and the unreasonable communities saying no more to this defund nonsense because it’s got everybody’s public safety in jeopardy,” Mike Solan, president of the Seattle Police Guild, said, according to KING 5.

Counter-protesters met the pro-police crowds and, later Sunday night, a crowd of a few hundred marched across Capitol Hill with some in the march targeting banks and Amazon-owned businesses with vandalism and property damage. Police took several protesters into custody.

Monday, the full city council will take up a package of proposed cuts and changes at SPD that members say are equivalent to a “43%” cut to the remaining policing budget for 2020 as part of the months-long debate over equity and racism in the city sparked by the protests that followed the police killing of George Floyd.


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28 thoughts on “Seattle’s weird weekend of protest: Anti-gentrification rally and Uncle Ike’s boycott, pro-police protest at City Hall, ‘Let Us Worship’ concert in Cal Anderson

  1. How can there be this many idiots in the world? Being in a crowd without masks, chanting to an unseen man in the sky is their choice, but forcing me to choose to about my neighborhood park for my own safety is truly unfortunate. Oh yeah, and defunding SPD isn’t going to solve any civil issues. Sorry.

  2. I’m listening to City Council live right now. The public comments are a JOKE! 100% of the commenters are Sawant people. They are reading from a script provided by Sawant. Such BS. This hardly represents Seattle opinion.

  3. This article fails to mention the shooting and killing of many people on 23rd av , which after a major shooting at a black owned restaurant the city stepped in.

    With Seattle’s liberal laws, no one should be in jail for marijuana crimes.

    This new movement seems to like to stretch the truth, and lie, probably believing themselves too.

    • Before throwing stones fact check yourself first. The city never “stepped in” whatever that means, in regards to a black owned restaurant at 23rd and Union. I know the history of all of them well and it just didn’t happen.

  4. This well known, pre-announced religious/cult service at Cal Anderson was a clear violation of Phase II Safe Start guidelines and an embarrassing failure for King County Health officials to allow it to take place.

  5. Christians gather in a park not wearing masks and don’t social distance in violation of state public health order *GASP*

    Protestors and rioters gather on Cap Hill not wearing masks (except some with gas masks….) and don’t social distance in violation of public health order ***everything is fine and the Rona won’t get them***

  6. For those claiming that the corner of 23rd and Union was wonderful in the good old days, please do a google search for “shootings 23rd and union seattle” and see the many results. You will see one from 2008 in the sandwich shop now housing the glass goods. And it gives some general color on the violence that was the norm. Someone above is plain wrong. I would post the links but comment sections often won’t post them so the search will be illuminating.

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