Seattle: Did Anarchists Drive the Mayor from His Town Hall Meeting?

from Seattle Weekly. June 22:

Anarchists Continue Vandalism Spree, but Did They Drive Mike McGinn from His Town Hall?

May Day has been extended by a month and a half, and counting, if you believe the anarchists and Mayor Mike McGinn. As Seattle Police continue their probe of the May 1 trashing of downtown Seattle, releasing new suspect photos, the Black Bloc is taking credit for new acts of vandalism including the sacking of a police station and a loggers’ building in Olympia. The mayor, meanwhile, whose home was vandalized apparently by anarchists, is blaming them for verbally attacking and forcing him to retreat from a community meeting this week.

At a Tuesday night town hall session at the Northwest African American Museum in the Judkins Park neighborhood, a few hecklers got to McGinn while he was attempting to discuss public safety issues

According to video taken by KIRO-TV and a report in the Rainier Valley Post, McGinn was repeatedly interrupted by audience members, some carrying protest signs.

At one point, while McGinn was saying “There’s this culture in which people use guns to solve disputes,” an attendee interrupted with the remark, “Yeah, the police foster it.”

Said McGinn: “I’m sorry, this is my turn. You’ve had your say.” As he proceeded, the interruptions continued, and one of the sign carriers came up to the mayor at the dais.

“OK,” McGinn said, packing up, “I’m done. This is not a productive meeting…you guys win.”

Dissenters reappeared outside and the mayor eventually had to cut short his discussion there too, and leave.

KIRO reports a mayoral spokesperson called the station’s newsroom to claim “anarchists” disrupted the meeting.

One of the dissenters, said the spokesperson, asked the mayor “how the windows were” at his house. Several were broken by rock-throwers last month.

The mayor’s appearance at the meeting was announced in advance on the Puget Sound Anarchists’ web site. On camera after the meet, the mayor said “This is a certain group of people and this occasionally happens.”

But those shown on the video didn’t necessarily come across as “anarchists” (assuming there’s a sure way to distinguish them without their battle-ready gear of helmets, rocks and face bandanas). One dissenter simply told the mayor her concern was racial, that “you’re not listening…Because we’re not white, you’re not listening.”

Commenters at the RV Post website disagreed the hecklers were anarchists. Said one: “In fact, one of the ‘hecklers’ was a long-time community member who was involved in the original occupation of the very museum this meeting was being held in — not some ‘outside agitator anarchist.’ The SPD came shortly after and arrested him, a 17 year old girl and two others for trespassing.”

Anarchists are, however, claiming credit for the $30,000 trashing of the Washington State Loggers’ Association building in Olympia last week, breaking out all 24 windows and spraying a graffiti message, “You are never safe. Go log in hell.” An anonymous communique posted at says “we laid waste” to the headquarters as part of the international June 11th solidarity demonstrations.

As well, at, an anonymous poster claimed credit for vandalism at the Street of Dreams corporate office in Woodinville June 11th, damaging windows and spraying graffiti. In 2008, homes owned by Street of Dreams were torched by Earth Liberation Front members, doing $7 million damage.

Last month, most of the windows at Olympia’s west-side police station were broken out in an overnight attack, The Olympian reports. Anarchists later took credit for that trashing, too.

Seattle police, meanwhile, are still attempting to identify those responsible for the $100,000 May Day damage and have issued photos of seven more suspects. “Detectives are still following up on leads and tips about several suspects identified last month,” the department says. The FBI is also involved in the probe.

Apparently in response to that, anarchists issued their own update this week, saying FBI agents have contacted Occupy Seattle members and questioned them about the May Day demonstration.

In both instances, the agents have threatened to take these individuals away from their loved ones. From what is known, these individuals were contacted because of the events surrounding the May 1st General Strike.

“It is unknown what specific allegations and accusations the FBI is leveling against these individuals,” the update says, “but the standard tactic of the FBI is to exaggerate the seriousness and consequences of an offense in order to scare someone into cooperating with them or becoming an informant. We would like to remind everyone involved in Occupy Seattle that under no circumstances should anyone talk to the FBI.”

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