Sunday, October 16, 2011

"Seattle, Occupied"

DEFENDING WESTLAKE Protesters link arms on October 5 to protect their encampment. Police arrested 25 protesters that day.

Paul Constant, Goldy, Dominic Holden, Cienna Madrid and Eli Sanders (The Stranger):
The city's reaction to their presence has been confusing at best. Mayor Mike McGinn and Seattle police have been playing the role of abusive husband to the Occupy protests. During the daytime, they are considerate and thoughtful—at one point when protesters were blocking Fourth Avenue and Pike Street to traffic, police negotiated with leaders to open the road back up, avoiding any WTO-style pepper-spray baths—but at night they become cruel. After a rally and march on Saturday, October 8, Seattle police occupied the dry space under the awnings, turning their bikes into barricades and refusing to let protesters protect themselves from the cold rain. Thus far, McGinn will be best remembered as the Seattle mayor who outlawed umbrellas: For reasons that are hard to fathom, umbrellas on the ground were deemed "structures," which he banned in Westlake Park, but if you were "standing and holding" an umbrella, a policeman explained, you were fine. You were also allowed to lie on the pavement under a tarp.

McGinn has blown what could have been an opportunity to be as forward-thinking as the mayor of Portland. Hell, if he had gotten behind the Occupy movement as quickly as some members of his staff are rumored to have suggested, he could right now be gracing magazine covers as the Mayor of Occupied America. Instead he's come across as a quavering, equivocating doofus who doesn't recognize the future when it's literally parked in the center of his own city. MORE...

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