LOCAL NEWS

King County Executive Dow Constantine issues message to white supremacists

Aug 14, 2017, 8:40 AM | Updated: 8:45 am
Police collected dozens of items during an alt-right protest in Seattle on Sunday. (Seattle Police Department) Police collected dozens of items during an alt-right protest in Seattle on Sunday. (Seattle Police Department) Police collected dozens of items during an alt-right protest in Seattle on Sunday. (Seattle Police Department) Police collected dozens of items during an alt-right protest in Seattle on Sunday. (Seattle Police Department)

King County Executive Dow Constantine responded to the ‘white supremacists and fascists” who gathered at Westlake Center Sunday after the violent protest in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“We fought a Civil War against slavery, and you lost,” Constantine wrote. “We fought a World War against fascism, and you lost. Today, we stand united against the hateful rhetoric you have brought to our community. And you will lose again.”

Patriot Prayer organizer defends Seattle protest

The organizer of Patriot Prayer, one of the alt-right groups that drew national attention in Seattle on Sunday after the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, said he was not there to preach hate.

“There’s good people and bad people on the right. There’s good and bad on the left. There’s good and bad everywhere. I want to bring in the good people so we can have a conversation and just be decent people,” organizer Joey Gibson said.

“I have no idea what the hell they’re thinking about yesterday with the torches, David Duke and [Richard] Spencer, but I do not stand with that. The whole thing. I don’t understand what the hell happened yesterday. But they did it on purpose to tear apart this country,” he said, referring to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville on Saturday that resulted in the death of a 32-year-old woman and nineteen others injured.

Seattle police say they arrested three men as hundreds of demonstrators and counter-protesters converged on downtown Seattle the day after violent clashes in Charlottesville.

Those arrested were a 40-year-old man for obstruction, a 37-year-old man for assault and a 25-year old-man for assault.

Police said they used pepper spray and blast balls to disperse crowds after fireworks were thrown at officers.

Patriot Prayer and other alt-right, pro-Trump demonstrators gathered in Westlake Park while counter-protesters began marching from Denny Park Sunday afternoon.

Counter-protesters included members of the Veterans for Peace, Socialist Party, Washington Federation of State Workers and other groups, according to KIRO 7. Some in the crowd were dressed in all black.

Gibson began his event with the Pledge of Allegiance and a prayer asking for peace on the West Coast. Meanwhile, counter-protesters marched through Seattle streets, some yelling “Nazis are not welcome here.” Some counter-protesters chanted slurs at police, including “Cops and Klan, hand-in-hand.”

Patriot Prayer’s first speaker stated a message from the organizers; that the incident in Charlottesville was an act of terrorism and should be denounced, and that white supremacists were not welcome at their event. He called for peace and love and said anyone who attended for racist reasons should leave. He then said that Seattle and America’s values are inclusive values. His message was met by boos by some in the crowd.

Seattle Councilmember Mike O’Brien was among the counter-protesters marching in nearby streets and told KIRO 7 that most marchers were peaceful and standing against bigotry. Other marchers echoed that sentiment, but not all counter protesters used peaceful rhetoric.

One counter-protester told KIRO 7 that they simply wanted to march and express their opposition, but police viewed them as the “violent ones.” He said police were preventing them from marching near the Patriot Prayer event. A line of officers was being covered in silly string behind him as he spoke with reporters. Another protester told KIRO 7 that he was watching the crowd as they sprayed silly string on police and tried to stop it. He said the crowd surged forward, then police used pepper spray. He was sprayed in the face. Police then threw blast balls and the crowd dispersed.

Meanwhile, the Patriot Prayer demonstration invited counter-protesters, two black men, out of the crowd to use their stage. The men argued against Patriot Prayer, discussing Black Lives Matter and white privilege. They also invited a woman to the stage who said that Donald Trump is tearing the country apart and is supported by the Klu Klux Klan, a terrorist group. They continued to invite people to the stage, from all perspectives, to speak their minds.

 

MyNorthwest and KIRO 7 contributed to this article.

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King County Executive Dow Constantine issues message to white supremacists