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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 1, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 26
Capitol Hill midnight rampage, anarchists damage property and pride
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Capitol Hill midnight rampage, anarchists damage property and pride

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

In the early morning hours of Pride Sunday, June 26, several hundred self-described anarchists swarmed through Capitol Hill, the city's Gayborhood, noisily vandalizing stores and smashing windows before dispersing into the night.

According to the Seattle Police Department (SPD), the disturbance began shortly after midnight when a flash mob gathered to dance. The mob soon got out of control and began to create havoc.

Witnesses say the anarchists marched down 12th Avenue and Broadway, yelling and chanting. Some carried rainbow flags, others wore masks and carried red-and-black flags.

The group began to smash out storefront windows, spray paint slogans, and even bashed in the windshield of a patrol car. In addition, SPD reports a bank ATM was damaged.

Armed with gas masks and riot gear, officers swarmed the crowd of anarchists, arresting one person and using a Taser on another.

The crowd quickly dispersed.

SPD officials say the mob action did not appear to be directly linked with the weekend's Gay Pride festivities. However, a post on the anarchists' website said the idea of the flash mob was to protest the assimilation of Gay Pride into the commercial mainstream.

'Right before midnight last night, near everyone's favorite Gay bar, big groups of people began to assemble on the corner of 12th and Madison. Anxiety and excitement filled the air as everyone waited for the music to start,' the anarchists posted on their website, www.pugetsoundanarchists.org. 'At the stroke of midnight, the music started, unfortunately quietly, but the energy in the crowd surpassed the need for music and people jumped and cheered with their friends. The crowd began to move quickly turning down a quiet street, which was occupied by one of the anti-youth 'beer gardens.' People jumped on the fence attempting to tear it down as others ran around attacking two empty police cars on the street.'

What started as a crowd of 200 shrunk to about 150 after the police car windows were smashed, said the anarchists.

'But the fabulously Queer and fierce crowd continued down Broadway, the main drag of Capitol Hill, the music could barely be heard yet the screams and cheers of everyone running through the streets penetrated the normally banal existence of the Hill,' continued the blog post. 'A Bank of America ATM was smashed in front of the now 100 [member] or so group of defiant Queers. The cops were tailing still at this point but were not willing to advance. Chants of 'We're here, we're Queer, we're anarchists, [we] will fuck you up' [were heard.]'

'Toward the end, an American Apparel was descended upon as a majority of the windows were broken. At this point people began to run as the number of cops increased behind the crowd,' said the anarchists.

What had started as a dance party quickly transformed into a confrontational presence of anti-Pride rowdy Queers, and the lack of music hardly mattered when it became apparent that a large number of people present there were most interested in being loud and defiant in the street, they explained.

'Being out and proud in a way that Pride was supposed to originally represent, in the way of Stonewall. Regardless of the yuppie LGBT community's agenda of assimilation into capitalism, tonight has made it clear again that there are always those who will never submit to the ruling class's dream of assimilation and 'tolerance,' the website concluded.

But in response to the vandalism, the community did not come to the same noble conclusions that the anarchists themselves did.

A user going by the handle Pedal9 wrote on the website, 'The worst thing about this incident is that a group of people was nothing less than coerced into attending a march when it had been promoted as a street dance party. It was NEVER divulged in the Facebook announcement nor on handbills as having anything to do with what you think is anarchism, or worse, activism. Instead, you tricked happy Queers into supplying you with a large group in which to hide your cowardly masked and hooded selves. When the destruction of our neighborhood began, most people began bailing out. (And please please do not compare this to Stonewall. Ever. It is a shameful slap in the face.)'

'Shame on you all,' commented user Xaioyao3500. 'You will never in a million years have the support of anyone but selfish, shortsighted punks who need to smash things to feel good about themselves. Trust me, when you grow up and become professionals, you will feel ashamed. In the meantime, maybe you should spend some more time analyzing your own racism, classism, and privilege, and less time shouting stupid slogans and smashing the windows of businesses and empty cop cars like a bunch of cowards.'

Xaioyao3500's account was promptly deleted by the anarchist site's moderators.

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