As the grand finale to the Week of Action put on by Stop the Raid on Student Aid, almost 100 BC students joined students from South Central Community College, UW, the Service Employees International Union, and Occupy Seattle in a march of over 1000 people through Downtown Seattle to University Bridge.
BC Student Irving Severino said that his state funding had been completely cut, and he was protesting against it.
The procession came from two directions with a heavy police escort on bicycles, motorcycles, and cars. One group came from a base set up at the UW, near Husky Stadium, where there were booths for free food and coffee.
The group of students marching from the UW carried a sepia toned banner over 100-feet high; inscribed on the banner was the preamble to the constitution, as well as over 10,000 signatures. The banner was one part of a 200 piece set, reflecting the constitutional rights of the people.
The two groups met in the middle at the bridge and stopped traffic with shouts of “Whose bridge? Our bridge!”
A man observing the protest said to someone on his cell phone, “They’re gonna be here for awhile. They’ve taken the bridge.”
Word quickly reached the middle of the crowd, word passed around that protesters must get off the bridge or be arrested. The majority of the crowd cleared momentarily, but when it became apparent that the police were not intending to break up the protest, the crowd rushed back in under the shelter of the massive constitutional banner.
A leader of the group was calling out to the crowd to gather underneath the Constitution, because the purpose of the Constitution is to protect the people.
Some people gathered on the bridge were sitting or lying down, intending to get arrested. These people were part of a small and specially trained group of people planning civil disobedience, including BC’s Monica Mendoza, Organizing Director of OSLA.
One of the civil disobedience protesters, Natalie Troupe, said, “I’m doing this for the future of everyone; not just the 1 percent.”
Her friend, Drake Williams, said, “All this stuff, it’s crazy. I’m just trying to change the world.”
Education was the original theme of the protest, but as the night went on, Occupy Seattle took over the protest and the theme changed to “Jobs, Not Cuts,” a common theme of the Occupy movement.
The police presence throughout the night was definitely noticeable; but they stood by and did not act. An anonymous Seattle officer said, “We’re not going to break it up. It’s a cold night, they’ll be out of here before long.”
The protest diminished after a few hours, driven out by the cold. They left chanting “We’ll be back!”
This was the big event of Stop the Raid on Student Aid; joined by Service Employees International Union and Occupy Seattle, the protest took over University Bridge for a whole evening.