By now you’ve all seen the videos of the melee that took place in downtown Seattle last week.
But how did this all come to pass?
I attended the Seattle May Day for one major reason; Mayor Mike McGinn warned of violence, stating that he and the police had advanced intelligence that things could very well get ugly. I wanted to be there to film it, especially after discovering that Seattle didn’t have anyone doing the in-the-trenches video work that several people in the Portland area have been doing.
As the rally began filling up in Westlake Park, which served as the central point of the day’s events, there was no police presence. No cops on horses, no cops on bikes across the street, no cops on the perimeter scoping things out. You’d think that with advanced knowledge of violence planned, that the police would have done a better job of keeping the possible violence at bay. There’s no way they didn’t know where the protesters were forming. How is it that an amateur videographer from another city and a few caped vigilantes were able to mobilize and get on site faster than the police?
As the Black Bloc began donning their masks, they did so in a big mass, which an out perimeter of people to shield them from people with cameras, as to hide their identity. Other protestors stand idly by and do nothing to try to stop them, knowing full well that this is a Black Bloc tactic that is commonly done before violence breaks out. If the others truly wanted a non violent protest and march, they would have prevented this from happening in the first place.
And, oh yeah, this march was called the “Anti Capitalist March”, and that Occupy Seattle officially endorsed all of the May Day activities, even saying that “An injurty to the exploiters, is a victory for all”.
According to my video times, the first window was smashed at 12:29 at Bank of America, followed right up with a window smashing at Wells Fargo on the same block. Police did not arrive until 12:52, during the attack on Niketown. The Seattle Central Precinct is located 6 blocks away from Westlake Park. For their 23 minute response time, Mayor McGinn praised the police response.
Of course, after it was all said and done, Occupy Seattle moved into classic Occupy Defense Mode, by trying to condemn the violence and claim that it was a fringe group unassociated with Occupy. What do you expect when you invite everyone, claim to be all inclusive and turn no one away, have no defined message or goals, and promote diversity of tactics and opinions?
Unfortunately for Occupy Seattle, their May Day Working Group page portrays a different sentiment. It appears as though many within Occupy Seattle are in fact praising the Black Bloc for the damage. Assuming they will soon delete that page or make it private, I took the liberty of taking several screen captures, highlighting certain comments that showed they condone the violent actions. Some go as far to claim that the damage was caused by undercover police. Had the May Day goers not gone out of their way to protect the anonymity of the masked ones, then perhaps there would be more photo and video evidence available to ID all of them.