PJ (left) and Chaka Khan (right) were part of the Friday night protest and rally scene in the Central District (Image: Jake Goldstein-Street)
With reporting by Jake Goldstein-Street
UPDATE 7:48 PM: A calm but energetic protest became a chaotic mess in a burst of police firepower Saturday night. The situation came to a head around 7:40 PM as police were attempting to push a large crowd of demonstrators back from the frontline fencing and put National Guard troops in place. After reports of police grabbing umbrellas and moving on the crowd, an order to disperse was given, followed by pepper spray and a hail of loud flash bangs and designed to create explosions of smoke and fire to clear away crowds.
“You have been given an order to disperse,” a command officer repeated over the area’s public address system installed in recent days to help better communicate with protesters. Police were threatening the use of pepper spray and other “less lethal” weaponry if protesters did not comply.
Protesters were reported scattering from the scene and regrouping on nearby streets.
Multiple people were reported detained.
UPDATE 9:15 PM: Seattle Police reports that “several officers” were injured during the incident and that small explosives were thrown at police:
Crowds have reformed and police and National Guard troops were back in place behind the barrier at 11th and Pine. Police announcements asked the crowd to “please respect” the barriers so that “First Amendment” activities could continue.
“We are committed to a peaceful protest,” the command officer said during the address. “Please respect the police lines.”
UPDATE 11:28 PM: A contingent of Seattle elected leaders has gathered at the protest in a visit to the front line. “Calling on @carmenbest @SeattlePD @MayorJenny to STOP this! Move the police line back to the barricade at least, dont spray, gas, flash/noise bombs,” council member Teresa Mosqueda writes. 43rd District rep Nicole Macri, King County Council member Girmay Zahilay, State Joe Nguyen, plus fellow city council members Dan Strauss, Lisa Herbold, and Andrew Lewis joined Mosqueda in the show of solidarity with protesters.
UPDATE 11:55 PM: After a request to Chief Best from the assembled set of elected officials, the line of police and Guard troops was moved back to create more distance between the groups and to give demonstrators more room.
From Girmay’s livestream
UPDATE 6/7/2020 6:50 AM: The overnight hours following the Saturday night outburst saw no further large-scale police escalation of crowd control tactics but there were reports of at least one major protest-related arrest effort on Capitol Hill away from the 11th and Pine core.
SPD posted a brief on the Saturday night escalation that brought elected officials to the front of the protest in response and upped the volume on calls for Mayor Durkan to resign:
During the on-going protests in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, officers deployed blast balls and pepper spray to temporarily disperse the crowd after individuals in the group threw bottles, rocks, and incendiary devices broke through a fence line, and several officers were injured. Just after 7 PM Saturday the scene commander began warning the protesters at 11 Avenue and East Pine Street to stop pushing the barriers placed there. Some unidentified people in the group began throwing bottles, rocks, and incendiary devices at officers who had moved forward to push the barriers back to their location. The group refused to back up and officers deployed pepper spray and blast balls in an attempt to push the crowd back. The protesters moved back a block and officers were able to reset the barriers. Several officers were injured during the incident and two were taken to Harborview Medical Center to treatment of their wounds. There was no CS gas deployed during this confrontation.
ORIGINAL REPORT: A second Friday of actions in Seattle brought new demands and new calls for justice as thousands gathered in the Central District for a “teach-in,” a rally, and a march to the city’s protest core outside the East Precinct at 12th and Pine for another relatively peaceful night of chanting and anti-police demonstration..
“We’re creating these environments, these networks and we’re using our platforms. I don’t want to see nobody with over 1K of a follower not post this rally today,” one speaker said during the afternoon rally in the parking lot at 23rd and Jackson. “I don’t care if you got 200 followers. I want to see it on your social media.”
The rally — filled with speakers, community support, music and dancing, free barbecue, and, yes, protest horses — filled the parking lot at a rapidly changing corner of the Central District where a massive mixed-use development from Vulcan and.an apparent Amazon grocery store is rising across the street.