Last night, hundreds of Seattleites protesting the grand jury decision not to bring charges against officer Darren Wilson for killing unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, shut down city streets and, briefly, the northbound I-5 highway under the Washington State Convention Center.
The mostly peaceful march lasted for more than six hours and ranged across downtown, Capitol Hill, and the Central District. Chanting “No justice, no peace” and “Hands up, don’t shoot,” protesters several times knelt before police with their hands raised---a reference to the widespread belief that Brown’s hands were raised when Wilson shot and killed him.
Just five people were arrested and there was some vandalism downtown.
The most violent confrontation occurred when marchers tried to enter the I-5 highway at 7th & Cherry where marchers attempted to get onto I-5 northbound via the on-ramp beneath the overpass. (This was after marching on a route through the CD, west on Jackson, and NW on Boren, and west on James to get to the highway.) After police blocked that ramp, at least three protesters managed to get on the highway by heading north.
Police used pepper spray, flash bang grenades, and coordinated bicycle-shoving to beat back the crowd. Protesters blinded by the chemical spray could be seen clawing their way back from the front of the march toward street medics standing by with irrigating solution. At least one man was grabbed and dogpiled on by police. A few dozen marchers later did make it onto the highway; at least three were apprehended, and then released, by police. [Casey has posted plenty of YouTube footage he took on his twitter feed.—Eds.]
“The police were actually pretty nice,” said Evana Enabulele, one of the apprehended protesters. …They said, ‘We’re not going to arrest you, we don’t want you to die on the highway’...They just let us go...They didn’t arrest us because we weren’t running away.”
A "demand for justice" was a common theme among protesters. “I think it’s important to show solidarity around events in the community,” said Alexandra Eberle, a 30 year old worker’s compensation adjuster. “One person doesn’t seem like it would make a difference, but it’s all I can do.”
Ain Mulindwa, a 25 year old cosmetologist, said she was marching “because we need justice for black people. “It’s time for a revolution,” she added.