Suck.com cited this page as an example of "the apocalyptic hyperventilating of those who damn The Man." Clever rhetoric aside, what follows isn't fringe politics or ominous ranting. It's just a record of what happened to me personally during the riots. Please let me know what you think: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh, and incidentally, if you're a geek, you should really check out the Monkeybagel Document.
Capitol Hill's been occupied by the police. My roommates and I were having dinner at a restaurant in The Alley on Broadway when the cops started detonating tear gas canisters just outside. We paid and left and made it out the back door just in time to get fired upon by cops using rubber bullets. We ran home and watched from the windows while the cops drove away everyone in the area, most of whom were just neighborhood residents. We saw a couple of our friends trying to get to our door, but they were being pushed away and yelled at by cops, telling them that they should have been at home already. We've been pinned down here for a few hours now. The cops have used so much tear gas that we can't go outside, and it's coming in through the cracks of the windows. There's a standoff at 11th and Broadway now near the East Precinct police station.
2:47 AM, 12/2/99
Things look like they've cooled off for now. The police used tear gas, batons, and water cannons to cause a stampede, and most folks just went home or at least scattered. The cops ended up gassing a lot of the media, too. Made for some rather interesting footage of choking reporters.
The movie below is a scene from the view out my roommate Julie's bedroom window. Thanks to Sarah Hipskind for the footage and Darrick Borowski/Assembly Arts for the conversion. Oh, and Julie Caplan for the window. This is a 2.5Mb Quicktime file; save it to disk before trying to play it. (In most browsers: right-click and choose "Save Link As...", or Shift-click them on a Mac) It will take some time to download, so please try NOT to click it three or four dozen times, as this will restart the download each time your itchy little digit twitches.
Riot police take over our front yard
All day long, the news media's been going on about how bad it was on Capitol Hill last night, but how peaceful things have been today; no fighting, no property damage, no trouble. And all over the city, things are active but not violent. Capitol Hill's had several marches come through, and there's been no police response. It's just strange. Where is everybody?
Something's up. Don't know what.
There's nothing on the news. Not many sirens. But a helicopter's been doing circuits on the west edge of downtown, spotlighting a fixed point for the last hour.
Oh. Okay. There's what we were waiting for. The dumpster next door is on fire. The fire department's just arrived and is putting it out.
Helicopters everywhere, flying low. Fire's out.
Still nothing coherent. Cars are screeching around, police are flocking to some unspecified location, and the news media isn't reporting anything. The dumpster fire went unnoticed.
FINALLY, news. Demonstrators are at the Paramount Theatre, downtown, in violation of the curfew, inside the no-protest zone. That's 9th and Pine, where all the cops were headed and where the helicopters are centered. Yet another standoff.
All week there've been rumors about the demonstrators dressed all in black. As I've heard it, they're an anarchist group from Eugene that's been manipulating the demonstration here toward violence. On Tuesday morning they were seen smashing the windows of the retail shops on Pine. Wednesday night police say they saw people in black outfits carrying Molotov cocktails, and it was in the process of apprehending them that the Capitol Hill riots were triggered. And tonight it's been said that they were seen with more Molotov cocktails near the Seattle College on Broadway, where a peaceful demonstration and march were taking place. And not long after, that dumpster next door was set on fire. I feel like I'm trapped in a Bruce Willis/Wesley Snipes movie.
Report of a man in black with a ski mask on, walking near the protest with a bottle in his hand.
Police dispatcher just mentioned the corner I live on (I'm still monitoring the police bands at this site.) I'm closing my windows and killing lights now.
Things are getting VERY weird. Reports alternate between "Things are just fine!" and rather ominous fragments of information without context, mostly involving ski masks.
I'm going nuts. There's no news at all. Switched from apbnews to Elsewhere.org for my police scanner audio feed. Fuzzier, but seems more complete. And what I learned after doing that is that the demonstration at the Paramount is almost completely cleared. Police are talking about stepping down their presence.
Now another suspicious carload of ski-masked people inside the lockdown area. I'm in a Tom Clancy novel now.
Surfing Amazon.com for scanner gear. Found a good one that should be able to follow trunked radios, like the Seattle Police use:the Uniden BC245XLT Handheld Scanner. Not that it does me much good right now.
I finally bothered to investigate the anarchists from Eugene who keep getting mentioned. The Seattle Weekly ran a disturbingly prescient article that essentially predicted this week's events back in September.
I'm dead tired. Time to go to sleep. Sorry if you were looking for something spectacular, but all I've got is fear and uncertainty. Maybe things really are cooling off in Seattle.
Friday was devastatingly uneventful. I spent most of the day and night sleeping, having crashed after a cold I'd been postponing finally took advantage of my sleep-deprived state and wiped me out. Good thing, too; I'd have been up till dawn waiting for something to be burned down or blown up or stormed or climbed or spray-painted. I hope I get normal soon; this morning I mistook the sunrise for a dumpster fire, and that's too weird even for me.
Photographs of downtown Seattle during the riots.