Some 200 demonstrators chanted “Black lives matter” at a rally Sunday in Seattle.
Chants of “Whose lives matter? Black lives matter,” rang through the Seattle Central College plaza Sunday evening, marking a year since the Ferguson, Mo., shooting by police of an unarmed African-American man.
The Capitol Hill rally, which drew 200 people of different races and ages, came a day after two Black Lives Matter protesters prompted the cancellation of a speech at Westlake Park by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Democratic candidate for president.
Demonstrators at the Sunday rally walked to the Seattle Police East Precinct at 12th Avenue and Pine Street. Some chanted “Being black is not a crime.”
Seattle police officers were positioned around the demonstration as the marchers blocked the intersection outside the station.
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Marchers walked through the Central Area and made several stops, including one outside Garfield High School, where speakers said AP (advanced placement) classes are causing racial division.
Some at the Sunday event said the two women who disrupted Sanders’ appearance were acting on their own, not formally for a group, but that the event highlighted the need to confront the difficult issue of racism in Seattle.
“The rally yesterday really revealed how people haven’t looked at racism in their own life,” said Yasmeen Johnson, 26, who is black. She later spoke at the rally, saying that the discrimination can’t be tolerated.
Lynn Katoa, 33, of Capitol Hill, who is black, wasn’t at the Westlake Park rally and said he thinks that protest could have been conducted “a lot better,” though the result has people talking.
“They definitely did make everybody aware,” Katoa said.
Those at the Sunday event said that they don’t know if similar protests will occur at appearances by other political candidates.
Sanders, seen by some as a progressive alternative to Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton, had been scheduled to speak at the downtown event marking the 80th anniversary of Social Security and the success of other anti-poverty programs.
Two women who took the podium demanded attention to the case of Michael Brown, 19, and others killed by police, and the issue of police use of force in Seattle. One of the Saturday protesters, Marissa Johnson, said Seattle is a city of “white supremacist liberalism,” where injustices are not being addressed.
Hours after the Westlake Mall incident, Sanders spoke to an enthusiastic audience of 15,000 at the University of Washington.
In Ferguson, the anniversary of Brown’s death was marked by a march, led by his father, Michael Brown, Sr., that started at the site of the shooting and passed a memorial to Brown.
In New York, a sea of motionless demonstrators lay prone and silent for a few moments at a Brooklyn observance before marching to a rally in Manhattan.