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Picture of the Day
May 30, 2020

i've been to a lot of protests at westlake plaza, including a BLM response to previous killings by police, but i wasn't expecting much today, especially since it was raining. sarah and i rode light rail for the first time in months, train completely packed with protesters, thousands already in the streets. the official event organizers urged calm but other factions pushed for confrontation. we started marching one way, then flashbangs and teargas a block behind us acted, paradoxically, like a magnet and we drifted back towards the commotion. then we circled around the block to meet a friend, but she was now with the group blocking I-5. a vehicle was torched and the crowd surged back and forth as police lost and regained control of the block north of 5th and pine. the speakers on stage kept talking, almost 2 hours of speeches seemed like a bit much of a warm-up for the planned march, and the rain was coming down harder now. we ambled east on pine, where white gutter punks were breaking windows at Old Navy and the fever was spreading. watched a scruffy young dude try in vain to smash a plexiglass shop window with a fire extinguisher; he was hounded by a group of protesters telling him to cut the shit and drop it, which he did. toxic smoke, flashbangs, teargas, breaking glass all around us, the weirdest thing was how calm i felt, as if i were a tourist observing the curious customs in a foreign land, deprived of my usual frames of reference. with cops closing in and everything going sideways, we threaded our way out of the melee and walked up the hill back home, where we learned the city was under sudden curfew. none of this would be necessary if cops weren't treated as if they were above the law. it won't solve everything, but things would get a lot better pretty quickly if our justice system started convicting killer cops. until then, they will continue to act with brutal impunity. spacer