Seattle's Ferguson march: Inside the anarchist-activist divide

Local protesters' response to the grand jury highlighted a very Seattle divide.
Crosscut archive image.

Demonstrators sit at the intersection of Broadway and E. Pike Street on Capitol Hill.

Local protesters' response to the grand jury highlighted a very Seattle divide.

While Ferguson burned, about 200 protestors in Seattle took to the streets in what was a mostly peaceful, albeit noisy night of demonstrations. Fueled by anger and adrenaline over last night’s grand jury decision against indicting Darren Wilson for shooting black teenager Michael Brown, the crowd circled Seattle from Westlake to Capitol Hill to the Central District to I-5 and back to Capitol Hill.

The night revealed a frustration with police, but it also revealed a rift in what one woman described as “Seattle’s leftist politics,” some demanding peace, others hoping for clashes. When it was all said and done, five people were arrested, but the violence and property damage were relatively limited.

By 5:45 on Monday, few people had gathered for the scheduled 6 p.m. demonstration in Westlake Park, timed to coincide with the announcement of the grand jury results in St. Louis. The scene was odd as there were far more media and police than protestors. One woman tried to hand out fliers to passersby but with little luck.

However, about five minutes before the announcement a modest crowd had assembled around a woman with a bullhorn. Although the verdict had not yet come, her tone seemed to assume it would not be an indictment. She shouted the protestors knew the details of Michael Brown’s murder, and that “America needed to come to a halt.” 

Her assumption proved correct. And perhaps everyone in the crowd had expected the same, because there was little reaction to the announcement. “OK,” said the woman with the bullhorn, “so Darren Wilson was not indicted.” There were some grumbles and a “Fuck that,” but the result felt like simply part of the planned events: gather, learn he was not indicted, march.

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About the Authors & Contributors

David Kroman

David Kroman

David Kroman is formerly a reporter at Crosscut, where he covered city politics.

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