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Seattle police ‘hope for the best’ ahead of planned NYE protest

Seattle police will get another shot at keeping a holiday tradition from going haywire when anti-police brutality protesters march to Seattle Center for the city’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration.

According to a Facebook page, protesters plan to gather at Denny Way and Broad Street near the Space Needle at 10 p.m., where roughly 20,000 people will be preparing to watch a fireworks display.

On Nov. 28, a group protesting against police brutality forced their way into two downtown shopping centers during the busiest shopping day of the year. The same group caused the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony to be cut short at Westlake Center, forcing the cancellation of a children’s choir that was scheduled to perform.

The Black Friday protest was an embarrassment for city officials who were criticized by shoppers, downtown business owners, and certain talk show hosts for not keeping protesters under control.

Detective Drew Fowler, a Seattle police spokesperson, said Wednesday that the department is prepared should protesters try to disrupt New Year’s Eve festivities.

“We will plan for the worst and hope for the best, that demonstrators will be civil and kind and respect families trying to have a fun evening,” he said. “But we will have officers there and if we need to take enforcement action we will do that.”

There is no outright indication on the group’s Facebook page that violence will be a part of Wednesday’s protest.

“Rock in the new year with resistance to police murder!” the page reads.

“We will hold up large visuals that say ‘Stop Police Murder,’ ‘No New Year Under This Old System,’ ‘We Can’t Breathe,’ ‘Jail Killer Cops,’ ‘Black Lives Matter.’ We will do a die-in and as the countdown to midnight begins, we will repeat the 11 times that Eric Garner gasped ‘I can’t breathe.’ Then as the clock strikes twelve, we will blow whistles to ring in a New Year with resistance to police murder and in solidarity with the youth of some of the neighborhoods in NYC who wear and blow whistles whenever they encounter the police harassing someone.”

Another anti-police brutality protest, organized by the group “Black Lives Matter,” is planned for Thursday evening at Westlake Park. The group has been protesting what they consider to be instances of police brutality, including the death of a black teenager who was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

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