This article discusses the demonstrations that took place in Seattle the day after the Charlottesville murder and details the actions of anarchists and antifascists to confront the Alt-Right group the Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer, led by Joey Gibson.
On Sunday, August 13th, hundreds of people converged in the streets of seattle in opposition to the rising fascist tide. Many were responding to the white supremacist attack that killed 1 anti-fascist and injured many more in Charlottesville, Va, but this was not all that was going on. The event was planned a while ago when Patriot Prayer, the theocratic ultra-nationalists who have been bringing violence to communities all across the PNW holding space for neo-nazis and white nationalists (while conveniently elevating people of color to positions of extreme visibility and tokenism as a guard against these accusations, as if people of color haven’t been complicit and actively involved in white supremacy before) had planned a rally, and people were determined to shut them down.
Me and my crew arrived only a few minutes before the counter-rally turned into a march, it was a huuuuuge crowd and there was around 50-75 people in black bloc with a lot of others just generally masked up, there were also a few people open carrying which made me feel a lot safer. From the start, the police were intent in not letting people get to Patriot Prayer at westlake, this made a whole lot of people pissed off and from the start the crowd was aggressive with the police. It was about 2 blocks before people tried to dash down an unsecured alley to bypass the police, but the police beat us there and formed a wall. With reenforced banners in front we charged their line and tried to break through. There was a back and forth and one of the banners was taken, another was broken, and then the police pepper sprayed us. I think if people who had flag poles and other long sticks or if people had things to throw, we might have been able to break through, though from video I saw from behind that police line, there were police hidden on both sides of the alley, so maybe it’s best we didn’t make it.
From there the march moved on, immediately one thing we noticed is a lot of the police were new, many of them were visibly shaken by all the people getting in their faces and screaming at them and they were fumbling in their formations, leaving many gaps. On the next street after the alley, there was a gap and people tried to make it through, but many of us hesitated and the cops came in. There was a tug of war between people and the cops, and one police officer tried to snatch someone but was smacked in the face by a 2×4 from the broken reenfored banner and the person managed to get away.
The march continued for a few blocks, people tried to get through gaps, but to no avail. One of the ways the police were able to one up us is by passing us by on the side walks, in the future we should make sure we take up the side walks and the streets, so they have to go around. Eventually people got tired of marching around and came face to face with a police line and the whole crowd chanted “let us march!” The black bloc was front and center with the police line, with shields in front. People silly stringed the police and threw smoke and small fireworks at them. Eventually we charged the police line and pushed at them and hit them with whatever we had. They peppersprayed us and we held for a little bit but then fell back, some people got it really badly and the bloc and some others rushed to get the injured away from the police and as they did the police threw blast balls directly under them. People filled the gap and formed up in front of the police line again.
We held there for a while while people got treated. Some ended up with really intense chemical burns, and the medics quickly burned through their supplies of LAW (liquid antacid and water). After a while word was the police were going to give a dispersal order so we started marching back in the direction we came. At some point, word was going around that Patriot Prayer and their fascist fanatics had left and that we should go back to the park. A lot of us had people over at westlake and they were still there. We don’t know where this misdirection came from, but it was ridiculous. At this point, some splits between the march and the lot of us that came to give fascists the boot (who weren’t all or even majority the black bloc). As we marched there were so many gaps in the police line, and times when there was no police line blocking us, and a lot of us tried to make use of these gaps and get through, it was easy and low risk, but some people from the main march with megaphones told people to keep marching and that the nazis were gone so we should all go home.
Frankly, if the main march came with us when we breached the lines, we would have made it and we wouldnt have gotten violently pushed back by the pigs. The misdirection from the ‘organizers’ both helped give space to the fascists and let those who tried to get to them get hurt.
At one point, there was no police line and people who wanted to oppose the fascists tried to go that way, but the march kept going back to the park but the split off said fuck it and went but was chased by the police back towards the main march. Once we arrived back at the start point, many people decided to split off into small groups and reform at west lake. Once there some small scuffles happened, MAGA hats and flags were snatched and burned, some people got pushed around, some proud boys were silly stringed and glitter bombed, then the police separated the groups and escorted the fash out.
The energy and rowdiness of the crowd was awesome, and with some tactical foresight we could easily out maneuver the police and kick the fash out!
-Some anarchists who talk to fascists with their fists. (A)