Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Demonstrating How To Protest

On Monday, December 8th, I happened to be walking downtown when I heard some chanting, and also noticed a line of Seattle Police officers on bicycles approaching the corner of Pine & Third Avenue. It was another demonstration protesting police abuse in general and the recent rulings about the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. So I whipped out my camera and started shooting, and watched as nearly as many police observed a small but determined (and very wet) collection of protesters make their statements. Yes, there was some tension, visible on both sides, but it managed to happen without a hitch: nothing was lost--be it tempers or control of force, nothing was broken--be it laws or windows. There was, as you can see, even dialogue between a masked protester and a couple of officers--and it happened civilly. Then, the protesters, who had stayed on the public sidewalk outside of McDonalds, not impeding any pedestrians, dispersed, and the police dispersed, both groups heading off into the rainy night,

It reminded me that we as protesters can make our points, organize our message and methods, in ways that are both effective and legal. We as police can respect constitutional rights of assembly and expression, all within municipal parameters.

It was, in short, an optimistic win-win.

It's even possible that there are many more protests happening like this around the country, but because of a lack of dramatic footage or exciting chaos, they don't make it to the front page (or main webpage) of mainstream media outlets. But it should be noted in this instance that I saw at least two of the major network's news folks were there with cameras and reporters.

I appreciate the skill demonstrated by both "sides" that night.

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