Occupation in Seattle
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            It was a scene of organized chaos on Friday evening in the heart of downtown Seattle. Hundreds of protesters marched from Seattle Central Community College in neighboring Capitol Hill down Pine Street toWestlake Park where they gathered, chanting and shouting protest against the government. Everything from the U.S. Government’s 2012 budget to gay marriage was included.

I met up with the mob as they arrived downtown. A line of policemen waited across the street, some on foot, others on bicycle, at the ready for whatever might happen. News media flocked to the scene, reporters aiming their cameras at the stage. Protesters walked through the streets of downtown Seattle, the area already congested with Friday evening traffic. One of the organizers of the protest took to the megaphone. They were preparing for what they called a “mass dying”. A countdown started.




            The protesters all fell to the ground, as if they’d all died. The cement was wet and cold from the rain that had fallen about an hour earlier. But they didn’t seem to care. Only the media covering the event, police, and onlookers remained standing.

This was all part of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement that started in New YorkSeattle’s way of supporting them. Many came down tonight after work, still in suits and ties. Others wore less formal attire. Many had been standing in the park, occupying it, for most of the day, from around six in the morning. Men and women of all ages, ethnicities, from various states, from various countries, they were all there. A group of college students arrived, all sporting Guy Fawkes masks. Then there were the few protesters I spoke with who had been in Westlake Park for the last twenty-four or even forty-eight hours.

Nearly everyone I spoke to asked for complete anonymity. Why? The media is working against the people they said. “If someone says something that the big rich fat cats don’t like, it’s deleted or edited.” One such protester I spoke with said. “It’s censorship.”

            As the sun set over downtown, the chants grew louder. Individuals in the crowd stepped forward to fuel the flame. Veterans told their stories. A frail, elderly man was helped to the stage by his wife and a fellow protester. Weak as he may have looked, his voice boomed across the park when the megaphone came to his lips. He told of his history. He was a soldier, a veteran of the Vietnam War. He served his country with honor, proud to fight for the stars and stripes.

            Until now.


            It’s because of the premium increases that veterans and retired service men and women are facing that he and his wife are participating in the demonstration.

            After he’s helped off of the stage, a young college student, currently studying business at the University of Washington took the megaphone. He spoke of the inaccurate and skewed views that Americans have of business and corporations since the government bailouts. He used the examples of BP p.l.c. as an example. The crowd cheered as he closed his statement, saying that the government should be bailing out the people, not the corporations.

            “Human beings are more important than the corporations they run!” A businessman who works downtown shouted.

One after another after another, everyone from the men and women who work in downtown Seattle to the homeless that call Westlake Park their home stepped up and cheered on the protest.

By six thirty, the majority of the protesters had dispersed. Many headed back to their cars, others to the underground terminal to board busses and the light rail to head home. Others stayed in the park, some starting their occupation tonight, others returning for second, even third nights.

 The occupation is a national movement, a grassroots group that’s so far grown to tens of millions across the country. San Franciscans marched through the hills of the city yesterday. New Yorkers are still marching down Wall Street. We’ll see the progression of the movement in the coming days, maybe even weeks.

Reporting from downtown Seattle, I’m Josh Lee.

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