N30 / Seattle: Anarchists' Response - Personal Accounts

Chuck0's picture

Seattle too cold, everyone goes home

Thursday has been, well, different. Could be 'cause the cops are swiftly running out of gas and pepper spray. They've put a rush order out to their supplier.

The surrounding of the jail was the city's crown jewel today. I was at work when the marchers started rolling down the street - everyone peered out the windows on our very, very high floor. Our office building was put under lockdown, and very shortly thereafter was evacuated. Good excuse as any to get down there. Hung around for a couple of hours, then decided my evening would be better spent resting up.

So I get home, and no sooner than I do does something get started in Capitol Hill. I joined a fairly small group (mebbe 200, but I'm a bad guesser) took to the sidewalks of the Broadway strip and made a loop, returning back to the SCCC. Apparently the march had organizers, since people were now gathered around a group of people passing a megaphone. Nothing too offensive was said, despite the head guy sporting a Che t-shirt.

Soon, a very large group of about 1000 people came up from the King County Jail and gathered around the park. More bullhorning, and some IWW folks had unfurled a nice banner right behind me. Those Wobs had my sides splitting. Here's one retort:

Guy w/ megaphone speaking to crowd: "Don't you remember this morning when you were feeling so dispirited?"

The two Wobs: "NO!"

Very cool. They had snappy comebacks to everything they disagreed with.

After a bit, we starting going down Broadway again - same route as before, with the exception that we took the streets at this point. Very nice 'n' festive, with the only police presence being the ever-present helicopter. Businesses locked down, since they wimped out. We headed to the corner with the QFC, where everything stalled. No consensus on where to go. Some suggested reversing direction, some wanted to go to the University District, some wanted the interstate, some promptly sat down to have a party.

Ended up we took a right, and then an immediate left ending up back on Broadway. More angst, but soon we were headed off north on Broadway to the U-District passing people peering through the curtains of the homes. After a minute, someone realized that the tail end was going *south* back to the SCCC. Everyone in the front stood for a minute, then followed suit.

Back at Broadway and Pine, the crowd was again plagued with uncertainty. Stay at the campus (the "organizers'" choice)? Go south? Go north? East was too dodgy since that led to Seattle's East Precinct, and last night's standoff was too fresh in everyone's minds. Someone shouted "downtown", and I liked the sound of that. Only 300 or so shared the same aesthetics.

We got to Melrose Ave. with nary a cop in sight - only when we crossed did we see a solitary police car facing us on the other side of Boren Ave. -- the "No Protest Zone". Anyone entering the zone is subject to immediate arrest. It's where you seperate the salmon from the lutefisk. We wanted the streets back, so we swam upstream.

The cop car sees our group, and promptly reverses. We cross the line and travel about 100 yards/meters inside the No Protest Zone, where a hastily assembled line of Seattle PD with truncheons and gas cannisters hits the street. Everything holds. I look behnd me... and see that 200 people chickened out! So it's about 100 people facing a now increasing line of police, with a few National Guardsmen thrown in for good measure. Whoops.

God bless small miracles. Turns out that nobody on the opposing team has their gas masks with them. This presents certain problems with crowd control - leave alone the fact that it's much too windy for any gas to have much affect. It's detente at the Paramount Theater. More police show up at intersections further down the street, but make no move toward us. One APC loaded with a few gas-mask clad enforcers swings by, but just as promptly slinks back into the shadows.

A couple people take it upon themselves to be spokespeople - with nil results. They would negotiate with police, only to have us rebuff their settlements. The folks eventually give up and go back to SCCC. Things are still touchy, but not too confrontational - the cops keeping their line, us marchers milling about.

An hour passes, and nothing much happens. The cops are a bit more relaxed, and protestors are breaking bread. I'm cold, tired, and hungry, so I call it a night.

At midnight, a thin line of protestors stands in front of a similarly sized line of police. Someone chants "This is so silly! This is so silly!"

Then the cops back off and disperse.

You read that right. This also perplexed the 20 or so protestors. They keep their line for a minute, and then...

... disperse.

joshua h


sleepy in seattle

used to be i could work all day, riot all night, and then work again the next day. but, fuck me if i ain't gettin' too damn old for this shit. it's been quite a day here. i missed the best part of the day, but as soon as i got off work i went downtown to see what was going on. shit, but it's a mess! i got in on the end of the police sweep of the convention area. it was pretty cool if you're into random acts of violence. the cops were pissed off as hell. things quieted down after dark and i wandered around looking for something interesting to do. it was a weird scene. cops everywhere, lots of c/s and pepper spray, but no real confrontations. pretty soon (around 9:30) the word spread that everybody was going to go to the capitol hill area (a couple miles from downtown). most of the faint hearteded had split by then, so everybody booked up the hill and sure enough, there were two lines of cops just sitting in the road. damn me if i know why they were there, but it got everybody back in the mood. somehow, a couple blocks from where i was, a group dragged a big trash bin into the middle of the road, doused it and lit it up. big, big fire. the cops went ape shit. gas everywhere (my eyes are stinging like hell and it's 5 hours later). there really weren't any large groups for the cops to go after, but as soon as the gas started, everybody flocked toward it. that was the pattern for the next couple hours. instead of cops chasing rioters, it was rioters looking for the action! they did have some neat armored cars, and lots of cool paraphinalia. but though i saw a lot of head bashing, i heard that they only arrested 30 or 40 people. around midnight a bunch of buses showed up with national guardsmen in them. they were unarmed, and though we hung around for almost an hour, they never got off the bus! i got bored so i walked back downtown but nothing was happening. then i walked the 4 fucking miles home. shit, but i'm tired. it's only 2 am and i'm sure that somebody is still having fun somewhere, but i gotta go to work at 6.

seattle is a town full of very comfortable, self-satisfied folks. but they're sleeping a bit less soundly tonight. i heard a news lady standing behind us mention anarchists about a dozen times and there was real fear in her voice. like machiavelli said: "it's nice to be liked, but it's better by far to get laid." no, wait; that was me that said that. nikki said: "it's better to be feared than to be loved."

i wish i'd gotten in touch with joshua; it would have been nice to have been with a few mates. but i'm sure we'll hear from him soon. all in all it was a pretty good riot. not as much raw, visceral rage as i saw in the poll tax riots in london in the early 90's, but for a bunch of wussy americans, it was a respectable showing. i give it an 84. not much of a melody, but you could definitely dance to it.

roger


## 01.12.99

Police State in Seattle

The following report is based upon news accounts, people I talked to and things I witnessed.

Though people may or may not agree with trashing corporate stores and this was only done by a very small group of people, still what the media is not telling people is that this happened after the police fired rubber bullets at close range at non-violent protesters who had sat down in the street as an act of CD. I wanted to state that first.

I marched in the big labor march of over 35,000 people. When we got close to the WTO meeting part of the march turn back to where it started from and another part headed closer to the convention center.

It was hard to tell which way to go. The group I was with got cut off from the larger organization we were with. We ended up marching behind longshoremen from Bellingham and Tacoma and they went the way to the convention center. Once there we were faced with police lines in three directions. In the area I was I saw no trashed stores. After a bit the police north of us started firing tear gas, very loud concussion bombs and pepper spary. I was not far away and I heard no warning. This crowd was not violent young people, but rather people of all ages even young kids. My son, daughter and myself were tear gased.

We moved back away from the gas. A little ways a way was a Teamsters truck (which was a part of the labor march) and all the smoke and gas was passing over it and they started to play Jimi Hendrix's "Star Spangle Banner". After a little bit the police starting moving from every direction, firing tear gas and concussion bombs. We made it down to Pike Place Market where the gas was still very strong.

Another group of protesters to moved east up the hill into a community where the tear gas brought people from their homes, restaurants or just walking down the street wanting to know why the police were gasing their community. This led to some confrontations between the community and the police. There were 68 people arrested on Nov. 30th.

And a curfew was placed on downtown from dark to dawn. The next day 300 state troopers and a unknown number of NationalGuard troops were brought in. They start off the morning stopping carsand taking all signs, banners and radio equipment. They also set up what they called a "No Protest Zone" in a large area of downtown. Around 7:30 am a group of around 100 protesters left a park and were stopped by a police line. This small march was stopped far outside the "No Protest Zone". The police arrested around 60 of these people. After these arrests the "No Protest Zone" was made larger to include where these people were.

Other protesters gathered at a plaza (not in the street) and around 250 of them were arrested. Any where in downtown Seattle that it looked like there maybe protesters the police came. I say this because many of the people tear gased today were just people walking the streets. I saw one woman come out of a store and saw the police and tried to move out of the way and she feel down and a cop came up to her and sprayed pepper gas a few inches from her face. The police attacked people standing waiting for the bus. Many people got caught up with the protesters because the police pushed everyone together. Most of the gasing and arrests happened outside of the "No Protest Zone". The news stated that over 450 people have been arrested so far today. Anyone that ain't a WTO delegate or police that are in downtown seem to be subject to these police actions. As I write this they are attacking unionists in north downtown, a small Mumia march, other protesters at Pike Place Market and other places. The police state in Seattle is trying to suppress anyone that dares to protest. I will be out again, I will reportback later. Arthur

## CrossPoint v3.11 ##


Police State In Seattle, second report

The police let the last group of protesters withdraw up to the Capitol Hill community, but followed them with far more cops and National Guard troops than there were protesters. After experiencing a great amount of gasing last night many people from the community came out to ask why the police was there in such great numbers. The answer they were given was beatings, more gas and being shot with rubberbullets. One guy while walking on the sidewalk asked the police why? He was kicked in the nuts and that shot at almost pointblank range with rubber bullets.

Not only is there a curfew, "No Protest Zone", but also a large part of downtown Seattle has been closed off until the WTO is over to the public.

Maybe my thinking is influence by two days of being gased, but it seems to me that the real message out of Seattle is that resistence to the WTO and global corporate fascism will be met with the relentless iron heel of a police state. If people protest in Seattle over human rights issues and are met with such repression, just think what people in such places that have no illusion of freedom must face. All people, labor, human rights activists, Indigenous people and so may have to realize that we are facing a dire struggle against those that have no respect for human dignity. If this can happen in Seattle, it can happen anywhere.

Tomorrow we will march again!

Arthur

## CrossPoint v3.11 ##

Rate this article: 
No votes yet
Publication: 
Infoshop
Publication Year: 
2000