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Seattle Protests for Civil Rights
caption: Juliet Le lights candles at a vigil near the intersection of 11th Avenue and East Pine Street on the 10th day of protests following the police killing of George Floyd on Sunday June 7, 2020, in Seattle. Seattle Police deployed chemical agents, flash-bang grenades and pepper spray on protesters shortly after midnight.
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Juliet Le lights candles at a vigil near the intersection of 11th Avenue and East Pine Street on the 10th day of protests following the police killing of George Floyd on Sunday June 7, 2020, in Seattle. Seattle Police deployed chemical agents, flash-bang grenades and pepper spray on protesters shortly after midnight.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Seattle protests: 'The time of the never-seen-before'

Oni Wilcox marched along with a huge crowd that was heading from Seattle’s Magnuson Park to University Village.

She said she was cautious at first about joining in Saturday -- at other protests, not everyone was wearing masks.


“And that creeped me out – cause there’s still Covid, right?” she said. “And two, I don’t know how much of a difference – I’ve protested before. And I didn’t really see a difference, I really didn’t see anything happen. But I believe this is different. ‘We’re in the time of the never-seen-before.’”

That was a recurring theme this weekend. Would this be the time that things were different?

Ali Shojaie and Sahar Zangeneh came with their two young daughters to protests Saturday on Capitol Hill.

Shojaie had been here days before too.

“Wednesday night was the same number of people roughly that there is today, so it’s continued and I think that that’s important, the fact that it’s continued and not stopped and hopefully won’t stop until we see more changes,” Shojaie said.

“It makes us hopeful that it’s more than an event, and it could become a movement, so at least that’s our hope,” Zangeneh said.

Messages of solidarity from white colleagues prompted social worker Ugbad Hassan to say something felt different this time.

“It’s not just us in the community, in the black community that are noticing it, it’s being validated: yes, this is wrong, this should not be happening.”

But, it’s hard to know what exactly all this attention to race signifies.

“I’m hoping it’s not a trend and I don’t know how you tell the difference at the moment because it is pretty trendy.”

Seattle city officials have promised to make changes in policing. One was a review of whether to use tear gas. Then early Monday, Seattle police threatened to use it again.

One computer science student who didn’t want to give his name said he’s frustrated that the silence of many white people means he can’t speak freely.

“I want you to feel the most guilty if you’re quiet,” he said.

“If you’re sitting in your house and you’re not saying anything – if you’re pretending like everything’s OK – I want you to feel the most disrespect. I want you to feel bad. Because you are on the wrong side of history.”

caption: Bicyclists block an intersection as people march between Magnuson Park and University Village in Seattle on Saturday, June 6.
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Bicyclists block an intersection as people march between Magnuson Park and University Village in Seattle on Saturday, June 6.
Credit: KUOW photo/Joshua McNichols