Anti-war activists met at the North and South Park Blocks today for what was billed as civil disobedience. However, fewer attendees and more cops than were hoped for were present, so people decided to simply march. The North Park Blocks folks started first, up Broadway, and then the South Park Blocks folks pushed off. They met just south of Pioneer Square and marched together to City Hall.
It was slow-going the whole time, as the cops were arresting anyone who jaywalked (or who they felt was jaywalking). What was especially ironic/funny is that the cops were totally blocking most of the streets they were on. If any activist had shown up hoping to stop traffic, their goal was met by the actions of the police. The crowd saw this and more than once started chanting, "Who blocks traffic? COPS block traffic!" The spectacle the police were making of themselves was ridiculous. Perhaps it was from embarrassment of this stupidity that they cracked down on a few individuals so strongly.
Jaywalking is not a violent crime, but the police reaction to it was definitely violent. There was none of the "restraint" that the corporate media has been claiming they've been using. They had the Fifth Avenue Bus Mall blocked down for a half hour at one point. If the marchers had been allowed to pass through the same area unpermitted, and without threats, the same street would have been blocked for maybe 2 changes of the light. So if avoiding disruption car traffic downtown was the goal of the police, they failed miserably.
All in all, there were about half a dozen arrests, all ridiculous and all heavy-handed. The good news is that the city can't possibly have the money to keep up this bullshit.
I lost track of the crowd somewhere along the bus mall and came into Pioneer Square to find it empty and eerie. Corporate media vans loomed at the top, near Nordstroms, and police lined the bottom, near the Courthouse. A tense forboding feeling in the air was undeniable. I spoke with a few activists there for a couple minutes then left to file this report.