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November 18, 2011 at 12:46 PM

An awkward soundbite from the Working Washington rally

Occupy Seattle is marching from Seattle Central Community College to police headquarters on Fifth Avenue downtown, to protest “police violence.”

Organizers expect to arrive about 1 p.m. for speeches, including an appearance by 84-year-old Dorli Rainey, who was pepper sprayed near Westlake Center on Tuesday night, and became famous when a Seattle P-I photo spread worldwide. She was in a group that blocked traffic after a police order to disperse, the second of two incidents when police sprayed demonstrators blocking a street.

In this year’s movements for less plutocracy and more democracy, the issues can get complicated.

During a rally Thursday at the University of Washington, organized by the labor-affiliated group Working Washington and joined by Occupy Seattle, speaker Sunny Whissner, a UW freshman, asserted that the “Washington way” of innovation through learning is under threat.

“Wer’e getting $166 million cut from the collegiate education budget in the state of Washington in this year alone. Meanwhile private funds are investing $250 million in a new stadium — we have a stadium right over there!” she said. Instead of hurrahs, her exclamation only drew a slight murmur. She finally gained cheers at the end, saying: “I’d like to see, and I know you all would too, like to see more innovation happening in the state Legislature to keep things that help us stand, like jobs and education.”

Maybe the listeners were just shivering too hard, but the rally also included many union ironworkers and other building-trades members who face high unemployment, while the stadium project will provide jobs.

In a similar vein, Rainey complained to TV host Keith Olbermann that J.P. Morgan Chase would make money selling bonds for the Highway 99 tunnel. But labor groups supported the tunnel, because of the jobs available.

Comments | More in Education, General news | Topics: Dorli Rainey, occuly seattle, protest

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