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Seattle is a young city with a long history of protests

SeattlePI.com Sunday, 14 June 2020
SEATTLE (AP) — Large protests in Seattle over police brutality and racial injustice have again caught the nation’s eye, but big, unruly demonstrations have been part of the city since shortly after it was founded in 1851 by settlers in a log cabin on a lonely strip of land along the Puget Sound.

Demonstrators this week staked out several blocks near downtown Seattle after officers withdrew from a police station following violent confrontations. They named it the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone,” demanded broad reforms and have faced blowback from President Donald Trump, who called them anarchist occupiers.

Similar descriptions of Seattle protests have been used for more than 100 years, stretching from large labor movements before World War I to the massive 1999 WTO trade protests.

“Seattle went from log cabin to the Space Needle in a very short period of time,” said Knute Berger, a local writer and historian. Large demonstrations here have been national news since the Wobblies — the Industrial Workers of the World labor union — were active in the area around World War I, Berger said.

The city’s reputation as a hub of protest was sealed by the huge Seattle workers strike in 1919, when tens of thousands of workers walked out for days to demand better wages and conditions. For decades, Seattle has often been synonymous with unrest, especially for critics of social change, Berger said.

“Back in the '30s, we were considered ‘the Soviet of Seattle.’ After WTO, the word was used as, well, ‘We don’t want another Seattle.’”

Mayor Jenny Durkan addressed the city's history with social movements this week when discussing the autonomous zone, noting that the quirky Seattle neighborhood has for decades been a hub for movements like gay rights and...
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Seattle is a young city with a long history of protests

SEATTLE (AP) — Large protests in Seattle over police brutality and racial injustice have again caught the nation’s eye, but big, unruly demonstrations have...
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