A crowd of several hundred protesters was on the move this afternoon in downtown Seattle, marching through the streets around Westlake Plaza, entering Macys, and trying to enter Westlake Mall and Pacific Place. The Seattle Police Department has reported two arrests, and the protesters made their presence known at the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
A crowd of several hundred protesters was on the move today in downtown Seattle, marching through the streets around Westlake Plaza, entering Macy's, and trying to enter Westlake Mall and Pacific Place. The Seattle Police Department reported four arrests, and as evening came the protesters made their presence felt at the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Kelly O

More than 4,000 people say they'll be attending today's #BlackLivesMatterFriday protest in downtown Seattle. One year ago, in the first iteration of this protest, Black Lives Matter demonstrators marched through downtown malls, tried (unsuccessfully) to get into the transit tunnel, and ultimately—after a standoff in which police used pepper spray and blast balls—disrupted the annual Westlake tree lighting ceremony. As Ansel Herz writes in this week's Stranger:

Sponsored
Protectly.co has USA Made N95 masks in stock!
Plus NIOSH respirators, surgical masks, gloves, goggles, 3M half-face respirators and more. www.protectly.co

Last year, the day after Thanksgiving in downtown Seattle was either a powerful moment for the Black Lives Matter movement or a disruptive shitshow, depending on your vantage point. Whichever way you saw it, be advised: It's happening again, and demonstrators say their Black Friday protest is going to be even bigger this time around

Follow along here on Slog for live updates, or keep up via @strangerslog (where we'll be retweeting what Ansel, Sydney, and Kelly O see downtown).

* * *

1:15 pm: People gathering at Westlake:

Im so proud to be a black mama, Kim says. Im tired of black babies dying.
"I'm so proud to be a black mama," Kim says. "I'm tired of black babies dying." Sydney Brownstone


* * *

1:30 pm: Sydney reports hundreds of people have shown up so far, maybe a total of 300. Kelly O says: "The vibe is pretty peaceful right now. Almost weirdly quiet. Willie Nelson's 'Frosty the Snowman' is playing over some loudspeakers. Cops are pretty chill, smiling, relaxed."

IMG_4525.JPG
Kelly O

* * *

1:50 pm: A 45-year-old shopper named Patricia, who lives downtown and didn't want her picture taken, told Ansel: "Later tonight is the choir with kids from the foster program. It would be a shame if this cut into that. As far as this, I'm glad they're making their voice heard... As long as people keep it peaceful, I think it's great."

Does Patricia think police brutality is a problem? "In any job, there's people that are good and bad. And there's some that don't understand that force is not the answer."

The chant in from of the Westlake Plaza holiday carousel: Whose lives matter? Black lives matter!
The chant in from of the Westlake Plaza holiday carousel: "Whose lives matter? Black lives matter!" Sydney Brownstone

Getting ready to march at Westlake.
Getting ready to march at Westlake. Kelly O

* * *

2:01 pm: Protesters march south along 5th Avenue:


IMG_4583__1_.jpg
Kelly O

1448662493-img_4565.jpg
Kelly O

* * *

2:13 pm: The march turns west on Pike and heads toward the waterfront.




* * *

Support The Stranger

2:19 pm: The march turns back north on Fourth Avenue and heads into Macy's:






* * *

2:33 pm: Kelly O reports: "A woman just went in to Macy's, glared at the crowd and said, 'I'm so sick of this shit!' I asked if I could talk to her about it, and she said 'Fuck you!'

Police outside Macys.
Police outside Macy's. Kelly O

* * *

2:42 pm: The Seattle Police Department reports one arrest:


* * *

2:45 pm: Standoffs between protesters and security at Westlake Mall and Pacific Place.




* * *

3:05 pm: Kelly O is inside Westlake Mall where, she says, "Protestors are trying to get in to the north entry of Westlake and beating on the glass doors. I heard a little kid in the Marbles Game Store say, 'Mom this is scary!'"

IMG_4646.JPG
Kelly O

Kelly adds: "This guy made it through the doors, and now he's in handcuffs."

IMG_4639.JPG
Kelly O

* * *

3:08 pm: The SPD reports another arrest:


* * *

3:20 pm: The standoff at Pacific Place:



* * *

3:27 pm: Protesters now inside Forever 21:


* * *

Charlie Redell, 41
Charlie Redell, 41 Ansel Herz

3:34 pm: Ansel spoke to Charlie Redell, 41, who works as a barista at the City Grind espresso stand at City Hall. :This is the movement of our time and we need to fix our society," Redell said.

What about people who say that all lives matter?

"Yeah, but the focus right now needs to be on all African Americans and people of color," Redell said. "It's such a straw man argument and it makes me angry, because its true but it's not the point right now. I want to see fair treatment of everybody... I want to see policing that doesn't single out a person because of how they look and doesn't make anyone afraid. And I want to see that DOJ thing do something good for us and not just be a rubber stamp, which is what it looks like to me."


* * *

Auburnew Sanders, 20
Auburnee Sanders, 20 Ansel Herz

3:37 pm: Ansel spoke to Auburnee Sanders, 20, an Arizona State student who's home for the holidays. "I'm protesting because of the injustice in our culture and the impunity that allows the police to take innocent lives," she said. "If you're just scared, you shouldn't be a police officer. We put our taxpayer money into this... And we should feel safe when we call them and not be afraid that they're going to kill us because of the color of our skin. There's a large population that doesn't see black lives as equal to others... If there's no justice, we shouldn't have Black Friday. It shouldn't even exist."

* * *

3:44 pm: The SPD says an officer was injured while participating in one of the reported arrests:


And here's video of the SPD trying to close a door at Westlake Mall when the crowd wanted to get in:


* * *

3:48 pm: Sydney says police seem to be setting up a line across Pine Street at 6th Avenue.




* * *

4:20 pm: Protesters have made their way back to Westlake for the Christmas tree lighting ceremony:








* * *

4:50 pm: The chanting (and fiddling) continues ahead of the tree lighting ceremony.

Fiddling while protesters chant.
Fiddling while protesters chant. Kelly O

Kelly O reports: "The fiddle player is completely ignoring the fact that there are hundreds of protestors chanting. Now two women are literally river-dancing on the stage with the fiddler. It sounds totally unreal, the chanting and the Irish music together."


* * *

5:09 pm: Getting creative with available materials...

People are tying protest signs to holiday balloons at Westlake.
People are tying protest signs to holiday balloons at Westlake. Kelly O

Kelly O reports: "A woman just said, 'What is wrong with these people?!' It seems like all day, women are more offended by protestors."

IMG_4760.JPG
Kelly O

IMG_4759.JPG
Kelly O

* * *

5:42 pm: Inside Westlake Mall:




* * *

6:13 pm: In front of Westlake Mall:


* * *

6:33 pm: Winding down?


* * *

7 pm: And it's over, according to Kelly, Sydney, Ansel, and the police horses. The SPD's wrap-up:

Hundreds of peaceful demonstrators took to the streets and protested peacefully.

However, officers did respond to isolated skirmishes outside of Westlake Center and Pacific Place, resulting in minor property damage and the arrest of four people. In one case, a bicycle officer dislocated his shoulder when people in the crowd interfered with an arrest outside of Pacific Place. The officer was transported to a nearby hospital for emergency treatment.

Sponsored
Tickets are on sale now for The Stranger’s 1st Annual SLAY Film Festival!
Ghosts, zombies, slashers, witches, Eldritch beasts, gore-- SLAY has something for every horror fan!