Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Flash Bang

 I was almost hit by flash bang at a recent Occupy Seattle protest.

And it was kind of fun.

That day my assignment was to cover the Occupy The Ports protest in Seattle. Similar protests were happening along the West Coast. In Seattle, Occupy had decided to march from downtown to Port of Seattle's Harbor Island, which houses a handful of terminals.

It all started with the standard fare: people blocking semis, then police moving in, followed by chants, and speakers. Like many Occupy events, it wasn't exactly an organized event. From the get-go, the crowd of about 500 people split into several areas near the entrances to the port. One group had speakers, others picketed in front of an entrance, and yet another, had more disruptive plans.

To make their point, a group of the protesters grabbed debris from the area _ wooden crates, metal scraps _ and blocked one of the main streets. They had a huge banner, and began to chant.

Mounted police moved in.

By the time I got there, the protesters were trying to "hold the line" by pushing against the mounted police. I saw a couple of them lighting flares, then I saw one of the flares fly toward the horses, prompting the cops to become more aggressive about cleaning the street. A tussle broke out, with the cops forcefully removing people, and protesters pushing back. One person threw a sign at the cops.

As it was getting heated, I was in the middle of the barricade, I decided to step to the side to avoid any injuries. As I did that, a loud boom went off, and smoke from a percussion grenades went up. Then a second grenade went off near me, about 10 feet maybe. Check the video out.

I was told the police horses were hit by paint, which they had a hard time removing from their skin :(

And here, a picture from my phone:

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