A morning Tax March Seattle protest, complete with angry demonstrators and 13-foot inflatable Trump chicken, called on the president to release his tax returns. In the afternoon, a Black Lives Matters demonstration called for greater police accountability, among other things.
Thousands of protesters converged Saturday on downtown Seattle for two marches that spilled into each other.
The morning Tax March Seattle was focused on tax policy and a call for President Donald Trump to release his tax returns, while the afternoon event was dedicated to the Black Lives Matter movement. But many people participated in both marches and similar themes echoed throughout the day.
One of the most fiery speeches was delivered by Democratic U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who addressed the tax marchers while also raising issues of racial and economic disparity.
As Americans prepare to file their own tax returns this month, Jayapal slammed a system that often favors the wealthy. “Taxes are what allow us to have schools and roads and all of the things that matter to a society,” she said. “But our tax system has to be fair.”
It’s also important for citizens to see the president’s tax records to ensure that he’s working in the best interests of the American people — not his family’s economic self-interests, she said.
Last year, Trump became the first major-party presidential nominee in more than 40 years not to release his tax returns. As president, he still has not. Presidents are not required to release their returns, but have voluntarily done so since the early 1970s.
Trump promised to release his returns, but later claimed that no one — except reporters — really cares, Jayapal said.
“Well, I got news for you, Mr. President,” she said. “Americans across the country want to see your tax returns, Republicans and Democrats.”
Protesters roared their approval and hoisted signs that read: “Trump: Who owns you?” and “What are you hiding?” Many snapped photos of a 13-foot tall inflatable chicken, resplendent with Trumpian orange-ish hair.
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The Black Lives Matter march, which ended with a sea of people on the steps of the federal courthouse, kicked off with music and chanting in Westlake Park.
Margit Zimsen sat on a planter in the park, knitting herself a “Black Lives Matter” beanie from black yarn. She traveled from Bremerton, and intends to remain active in the movement for greater police accountability.
“I think people being shot, with no consequences to the perpetrator, is an immediate, pressing issue,” she said.
As the crowd began to march, Dre Anderson led an impromptu call and response: “Whose lives matter? Black lives matter!”
Anderson said he encountered the march serendipitously, after leaving a play rehearsal. As a black man, he said, he was encouraged to see so many white residents speaking up for racial justice.
“It’s great to see that cohesiveness, he said. “it’s a beautiful mosaic.”
By midafternoon, so many people had taken to the streets that protesters heading north along Fourth Avenue could look downhill and see the steady stream of marchers behind them headed south on Second Avenue.
Creativity and humor was on display in many of the signs.
Patrick Cook, of Edmonds, brought a sign with two messages. One side read “Collusion, Conflicts and Corruption must end.” On the flip side was a message for former Seahawk Marshawn Lynch, who may be coming out of retirement for another team: “Best of luck, Beastmode.”
“I just wanted to add a little fun,” Cook said.
But both Cook and his wife, Gretchen, said they’re unnerved by the Trump administration’s recent bombings in Syria and Afghanistan — and rising tension with North Korea.
“Suddenly things like taxes don’t seem to matter as much, when you’re worried about nuclear war,” said Gretchen Cook.
At the Black Lives Matter demonstration, Bree Fish and John Kohlsaat were dressed as Mary Poppins and the chimney sweep Bert and carried a banner that put a political spin on one of the Disney movie’s most famous songs: “SuperCallousFragileRacistSexistNazi Potus.”
Zach Drennan, 17, came with his family from Steilacoom.
“It’s my first-ever protest,” he said, “and I feel like it’s for a good cause.”
Zack’s father, Steve, noted his son will be old enough to cast a ballot in the next presidential election. “He can vote out Trump.”
Trump, in Florida, spent the morning at the golf course Saturday and avoided several hundred protesters when his motorcade took a circuitous route back to Mar-A-Lago. Protesters marched across the bridge that divides West Palm Beach and Palm Beach, chanting and hoisting signs that read “Don the Con,” “Go back to New York,” “Show your taxes!” and “Show me the money!”