Pro-Palestinian protesters disrupt Seattle’s Tree Lighting Celebration

Nov 24, 2023, 6:11 PM | Updated: Nov 26, 2023, 9:34 am

On the heels of the release of 24 Israeli hostages held in Gaza and the subsequent freeing of 39 Palestinian prisoners, protests around the nation continue, including in downtown Seattle Friday evening.

Dozens of demonstrators calling for free and independent Palestinian territories protested at the annual Tree Lighting Celebration at Westlake Center in Seattle Friday.

There were reports of protesters stopping traffic at one point, according to KIRO Newsradio.

While the ceremony came to a stop, the tree lighting did take place, KIRO Newsradio reports.

Hosted by the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) at Westlake Center, the Tree Lighting Celebration featured local live music, costumed characters and giveaways. The tree was scheduled to be lit at 5 p.m with fireworks launching after the event. Mayor Bruce Harrell was scheduled to be in attendance.

Ursula Reutin, one of the hosts of the Gee and Ursula Show, and Micki Gamez, one of KIRO Newsradio’s traffic and transportation reporters, co-emceed the tree lighting this year. It ushers in the post-Thanksgiving and end-of-the-year holiday celebration.

4-day truce in Israel-Hamas war

Hamas on Friday released 24 hostages it held captive in Gaza for weeks, and Israel freed 39 Palestinians from prison in the first stage of a swap under a four-day cease-fire that offered a small glimmer of relief to both sides.

Israel — wrenched by the abduction of nearly 240 people in Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack that triggered the war — cheered as 13 Israeli women and children emerged free from Gaza. Most were in their 70s or 80s, and the youngest was a 2-year-old. Also released were 10 people from Thailand and one from the Philippines.

Contributing: Luke Duecy, KIRO Newsradio; The Associated Press

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