KIRO NEWSRADIO OPINION

Gee and Ursula: Did pro-Palestinian protesters lose supporters by blocking traffic?

Apr 16, 2024, 1:44 PM

Image: A tow truck removes one of the cars blocking the expressway leading to Seattle-Tacoma Intern...

A tow truck removes one of the cars blocking the expressway leading to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Monday, April 15, 2024. A pro-Palestinian protest closed the road to the airport. (Image courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Image courtesy of KIRO 7)

In a coordinated nationwide protest calling for an end to the Israel-Hamas war, 46 pro-Palestinian protesters were arrested after blocking the expressway leading to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) on Monday. Gee Scott of “The Gee and Ursula Show” said that’s when they “lost” him.

The protest disrupted both arrivals and departures, causing significant travel delays for passengers.

“It’s not just missed flights, it is those moments that are missed,” Gee explained. “And sometimes, you need to make that connection somewhere, you need to be able to because if you miss that connection, now you’re going to have to stay there and not everyone has money for a hotel. And even if you are reimbursed, you still missed the time. They lost me with that now, because of because of the connection to Sea-Tac Airport.”

FlightAware data indicated that Sea-Tac experienced nearly 120 flight delays and four cancellations as of the previous night, further exacerbating the inconvenience for travelers.

Original coverage: 46 arrested after pro-Palestinian protest shut down SEA Airport road for hours

“In 2021, I personally missed attending a funeral of my namesake in Chicago due to flight delays caused by the Omicron variant. Such missed connections affect people’s lives beyond the immediate inconvenience,” Gee said.

Ursula Reutin countered with, “You know what they would argue? They would say your little inconvenience is nothing compared to what children and women and men and innocent people are dealing with in Gaza. And this needs to end so your little inconveniences are mild compared to what is happening.”

The protesters employed a tactic known as the “sleeping dragon,” where they lay across the roadway with their arms locked together using tubes. This strategic obstruction persisted for hours, compelling some travelers to abandon their vehicles and walk the remaining distance to the airport terminal.

One frustrated passenger, interviewed by KIRO 7, revealed that she missed her flight due to the prolonged closure of the airport expressway.

“You have a right to voice your opinions. You have a right to protest. When you block traffic or your protest negatively impacts so many other people’s lives, your message is lost. I believe it will not be well received,” Ursula explained. “When people head to the airport, they often have important destinations: spring breaks, family visits or personal vacations. These moments matter.”

However, Ursula also said much of the change we see today is because of these kinds of protests.

“Past protests were not convenient. Life was different then but civil rights protests were not about making it convenient for people,” she said.

Gee said the difference was that the civil rights movement was happening in the U.S.

“The things that are going on there, they have been going on for a long time. For me personally, I can’t do anything about it,” he said.

As the nationwide protests continue, travelers and demonstrators alike grapple with the consequences of their actions. Gee said there are a myriad of factors.

We as a country, we really don’t have real discussions about what’s going on in other countries, unless it involves and connects the United States or unless it’s our men and women that are actually going to war. But other than in the media, no everyday conversations discussions are being had. They’re not being had because it is a very sticky topic, a topic that did not just start on October 7. When you talk about it you have to talk about all of it including all the context. It gets deep and you want to know whose hands aren’t clean in this discussion? The United States of America. So when you have these discussions, you got to go deep into the topic and you got to go below the surface on it.”

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m.- noon on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Bill Kaczaraba is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here. Follow Bill on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email him here

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Gee and Ursula: Did pro-Palestinian protesters lose supporters by blocking traffic?