Chants of “No justice no peace, no racist police” and “Black Lives Matter, not Black Friday” rang through the streets of downtown Seattle yesterday. Black Lives Matter protestors blocked traffic and disrupted retail stores throughout the afternoon during what was supposed to be the biggest shopping day of the year.
Around the country, demonstrations shifted the days focus from consumerism to police accountability and threats to the lives of black people — but the impact was especially big here in Seattle.
Police in riot gear attempted to block entrances to Westlake Mall and Pacific place, but protesters found a way in:
Demonstrators also managed to break through the police barricade Friday evening and joined the mostly white crowd that gathered for Seattle’s tree lighting ceremony.
You could hear “Black Lives Matter” chants in the crowd over the musical performances, and when the tree lights went up, so did helium balloons carrying signs that said “Black Lives Matter” and “Fuck the Police.”
With big crowds of demonstrators disrupting the shopping for the second year, it’s a good time for the city of Seattle to reflect. We can’t continue to be consumers and ignore things that really matter, like protecting citizens of color from police violence.
Maybe going forward, the day after Thanksgiving will come to mean something entirely new for our city.