June 10, 2017
Statement to the Media
Radical Women denounces police bias against Muslim defenders
Today’s “Seattle Stands with our Muslim Neighbors” peaceful rally and march brought out a diverse crowd of hundreds that drowned out ACT for America’s anti-Muslim demonstration. The pro-Muslim counter-protesters rallied at Occidental Square and marched together to City Hall. The rally and march were planned by an ad hoc coalition of 15 organizations that included religious groups, feminists, unionists and socialists. Hundreds of individuals stood in solidarity with the Muslim community against ACT’s message of religious intolerance and bigotry.
As the pro-Muslim group marched away from City Hall back to Occidental Square, right-wing cowards attacked the back of the march. The police observed the attackers, but waited before intervening. The pro-Muslim marchers then continued on to Occidental Square for the permitted closing rally.
Even after this unprovoked attack, the police allowed a dozen belligerent ultra-right militia members associated with “Proud Boys” to roam around the Pioneer Square area picking fights. These militias were invited to Seattle by ACT for America organizers. Eventually these same men charged into a group of pro-Muslim rally members who were gathered behind the speakers. The police, who were nearby, paid no attention until the pro-Muslim protesters defended themselves. Then they sent in a bicycle squad and started pepper-spraying. The Proud Boys group was allowed to walk away, but three pro-Muslim rally attendees were arrested. Legal observers and medics were onsite with the pro-Muslim crowd.
“Volunteers who were organizing security for the ad hoc coalition are very disturbed at the unprofessional, incompetent and biased behavior of the police,” said Radical Women Organizer Gina Petry. “The coalition had previously informed the police of their exact plans and maintained a well-attended peaceful day of activities. The anti-Muslim protest could not muster enough numbers for a real rally, so they entered a crowd of peaceful protestors in order to provoke confrontations,” said Petry. “I urge community members to call the mayor’s office and demand the immediate release of those arrested.”