Westlake Park Events Could Disrupt Occupy Seattle Protests

By Erica C. Barnett October 11, 2011

Occupy Seattle may soon have more than just rain and the SPD to contend with.

Starting on October 13 (this Thursday), several groups have received permits for rallies and other events in the park, which has been full of Occupy Seattle protesters since the weekend before last.

Mayor Mike McGinn's spokesman Aaron Pickus says city rules say that "you can't block off any public access" in city parks. "All parks, pathways, walkways must remain open. ... We support their message, but the rules need to be followed." Pickus said the mayor "expects" that the Occupy Seattle demonstrators will follow the rules, but wouldn't say what McGinn's plan is if they don't. Parks department spokeswoman Dewey Potter says parks has no plans to enforce the rules itself.

The permitted events are:

• The King County Labor Council's jobs rally is scheduled for October 13. KCLC secretary David Freiboth has not responded to a call asking whether the group plans to move the rally or merge it with the Occupy Seattle demonstrations.

• The White Cane Flash Mob, a demonstration on behalf of Lighthouse for the Blind, is scheduled for the 15th but may cancel, parks spokeswoman Dewey Potter says, because "they're concerned there's too much other stuff" going on in the park.

• On the 15th and 16th, a group called Sing Peace plans to bring a wagon into the park, gather, and sing. The group has not responded to an email asking whether their plans are still on.

• On the 19h, GMO Free Seattle has planned a rally to educate Seattleites about the risks of genetically modified crops. They have not returned an email for comment.

• On the 22nd, the October 22 coalition plans to hold its annual demonstration against police brutality in Seattle. A representative from the organization has not yet returned a call.

• Finally, the Thriller Dance Flash Mob is scheduled for October 23.
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