The nationwide Occupy Wall Street movement might have made a ruckus when it started in New York City’s Zuccotti Park on Sept. 17, 2011, but a march celebrating its anniversary in downtown Seattle tonight didn’t.
The loudest part of an Occupy Seattle march of about 100 people with dollar bills taped over their mouths were the bicycle brakes of police officers slowly rolling alongside them. Marchers silently coursed through streets surrounding Westlake Park with a giant banner ahead of them reading “Get money out of politics.”
Gabriel Plummer, 20, passed out information about Occupy Seattle offshoot organization #MicCheckWallSt to shoppers and diners gawking at the unusually quiet demonstration.
“There are a lot of groups that branched off of the Occupy movement, but we’re all here letting people know we’re still working together,” said Plummer, who camped with Occupy Seattle for months last year.
The improvised march slowed sparse traffic as it weaved through downtown avenues between Pine Street and Pike Street, but business owners in the area were appreciative protesters didn’t disrupt the area with noise or violence.
“I actually think this is a lot better way to get a message out,” said Urban Outfitters manager Jessi Woodland. “It’s a lot better than vandalism because then you’re just sharing your anger and not much else.”
But not everyone was enchanted with the march. Among them was a 53-year-old woman who, after searching for a job for two years, was holding a sign reading, “Lost my job, no employment, anything helps, God bless” as marchers passed by. She said she may need help, but didn’t think the Occupy movement was offering her any.
“I’m sick of them because they’re a huge disruption to everybody,” she said. “They make tax-payer funded police watch over them like they’re children, when they could be watching over somebody else who needs it.”
Seattle’s branch of the movement started in early October last year, but Occupy Seattle member Mark Taylor-Canfield said participating in a nationwide day of celebration could better illustrate a solidarity still within the movement.
After the march, Taylor-Canfield shouted a short speech in sentences that the crowd echoed to amplify it, ending with, “They tried to stop us for a year, but we’re still here – get used to it!”