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Hoods Placed On Seattle's Fremont Sculpture In Iraq War Protest

POSTED: 5:50 am PDT May 17, 2004

SEATTLE -- Hoods have been placed over one of the city's most popular public art works in a protest against the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Someone placed black hoods over the heads of all five human figures and a dog in "Waiting for the Interurban" at a well-traveled Fremont intersection about noon Sunday, a witness told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

A chair next to the sculpture was rigged with jumper cables to resemble a torture setup and a sign announcing weekly peace vigils at Green Lake, about three miles away, was taped to the leg of one of the figures.

In a vigil at the lake later in the day, about 120 protesters carried signs, four wore black hoods similar to those placed on the sculpture and more than 700 small white crosses were stuck into the ground to represent U.S. casualties of the war in Iraq.


Fremont Statue Turned Into Political Statement

May 16, 2004

By Mary Nam

SEATTLE - The Iraqi prison abuse scandal sparked debate in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood Sunday. Somebody placed hoods over a popular statue to represent Iraqi prisoners.

"People do all sorts of things with those statues, so it's consistent with the tradition of decorating the statues," said Jeremy Bunn.

The latest so-called decoration on the popular Fremont statues is more like a political statement.

Someone tied black hoods over the statue heads. They also twisted wire around a metal chair, and covered the dog's head.

"It's freedom of expression," said Colin Klein. "It definitely makes me think about it a little bit more, after seeing it like that."

The reference to the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal is obvious. We've seen those images again and again. But whoever is behind this public protest wants us to pay closer attention.

"I think we -- collectively -- need to think about it," said Bunn.

Bill Watkins is angry about the prisoner abuse. "I think it's important for people to see this and be forced to respond to it."

Watkins said it's his civic duty to keep the controversy alive. He agrees with the anonymous artist.

But he does not agree with President Bush that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is doing "a superb job."

"I consider these poor cannon fodder types who are staff sergeants, pfc's, who are taking the fall and the brunt of all this, I think it's absolutely shameful," he said.

All day Sunday people stopped to stare at the statues. Some even took pictures.

Some people agreed with the statement, others disagreed.

"Sometimes force is necessary between people," said veteran John Wolfe. He thinks the focus should be on American prisoners -- namely Nick Berg who was beheaded earlier this month.

"I think about Nick Berg. Nobody put a hood over his head," he said.

People who say the hooded statue tell KOMO 4 News it made quite a statement. They also say it's hard to ignore, and it makes the public less apathetic.

So far no one has claimed responsibility for redecorating the statue.