Cleanup underway in Seattle after weekend protests turn to riot

Jul 28, 2020, 8:23 AM

cleanup, riot...

Tom cleans up trash in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood on Monday. (KIRO Radio, Meili Cady)

(KIRO Radio, Meili Cady)

Cleanup is underway in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood after rioters smashed windows, painted graffiti on buildings, and set a construction trailer on fire Saturday. Tom, a Seattle man spotted cleaning up weekend damage, spoke with KIRO Radio’s Meili Cady on Monday as he picked up trash.

“I’m just cleaning up the streets right now after the rioting that was going on,” Tom said.

Police report 45 arrests after march on Capitol Hill declared a ‘riot’

While he wasn’t part of the weekend events in Seattle, Tom said he has participated in peaceful protests in the area.

Protests in Seattle on Saturday started with thousands of people marching through the Capitol Hill neighborhood, but was later declared a riot by the Seattle Police Department following increased violence and public safety concerns. People vandalized businesses in the area and threw fireworks near the East Precinct.

Tom says he protested at the former CHOP zone, but he disagrees with the riots. He also previously went to Portland to take part in civil rights demonstrations there, and says he was disappointed at what he saw after dark.

“People started bombing the courthouse, they started throwing fireworks, they started throwing mortars, they started setting things on fire. It wasn’t a peaceful demonstration,” he said. “They wanted to kill people. It was a war over there. I’m ashamed to have been a part of it.”

Tom said he thinks lawless citizens are more of a problem in Portland than the federal agents who are battling them.

“If we riot the way that we are, we are no more right than the police are and police brutality,” Tom said. “What people are doing now, which is straight up anarchy, straight up disrespect to everything that we have fought for, is wrong. I disagree with it highly. The only way that I can show that is by cleaning up what’s left behind.”

He noted that Seattle is having similar problems to Portland where peaceful gatherings are more often being co-opted by people bent on destruction, not demonstration.

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