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You saw it here first, friends! A member of "Occupy West Seattle" offers cupcakes to West Seattle cops at our first protest, and they REFUSE - because they're on duty!

Harrowing details below.

Last week Occupy West Seattle held their first event, the "Birthday Celebration" of JPMorganChase CEO Jamie Dimon in front of the West Seattle branch in the friendly Alaska Junction business district.

Above, particpants assemble in the wake of a sudden blast of hail and snow that dissolved into light showers. I distributed colorful "99 percent" neck signs to increase visibility and symbolize diversity.

Above, this ominous group of anarchists leads the march to the bank.

When the event was announced  in a popular local blog the day before, it engendered a controversy - 140+ comments. Many expressed skepticism, suspicion, mockery, and downright hostility that shocked me a bit. The posters may have been average Seattle neighbors reflecting the generally bad press of Occupy, but it wasn't pretty:

Oh groan. The occupiers are obnoxious. I hope they leave their drug use, sexual assault, and public urination out of our neighborhood unlike at the campus they occupied in the past. This hurts local businesses.
I hope they’re all arrested, and I’ll gladly look the other way if SPD deems it necessary to provide “physical motivation” to any of them.
I am starting a new movement. Occupy Occupy West Seattle.
We will rise up against obnoxious occupy movements everywhere and in particular will protest their coming to West Seattle.
These ‘Occupy’ idiots simply don’t have a clue.
They ARE the reason why the economy tanked. When your overspending, your unwillingness to work for what you buy, and your misuse of credit cause your own economic downfall, you don’t blame the person next door who lived within his means.
Granted it may only BE “one percent” of society who truly live within their means, but why won’t the rest look in the mirror and place the blame where it belongs, instead of gathering and rallying to express group envy?
At least show enough common sense to recognize and label it “group envy” when you gather to subject others to your woeful and pitiful present-day state.
YOU brought this upon yourselves, fools!!!
To which I lost my temper and posted:
I call bullsh*t on every line of your post. ENVY of the rich and powerful is the biggest problem this country faces? And the reason the economy tanked?
I DO respect differing opinions, but I can’t think of a polite way to address this steaming load.
Other Occupy defenders responded reasoned refutations:
Please, just watch the movie “Inside Job”. They do a better job of explaining how the major banks behaved irresponsibly and crashed our economy. It won an academy award and not a single fact they present has been disputed by those involved.
Stop blaming the victims. Every American should be standing for fairness.
or resentful counter-shots:
The nastiness shown here to the Occupy people is really surprising. I doubt that the tellers at Chase are having their livelihoods threatened. Maybe they should take “personal responsibility” and work for a more honorable employer, if what Occupy says bothers them. Which I doubt it does.
Some of you sound like old fogeys and right wing authoritarians...People like you said similar things to civil rights and women’s rights and gay rights agitators. Some of you are sadly, angrily, and bitterly behind the times. Enjoy your economic subjugation and hate, because soon it will be all you have left.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
On the day of the event, the West Seattle Blog reported a turnout of 25-40 people over the course of 2 hours - with fliers, signs, kids, whistles, and birthday cake (for Dimon) while firmly calling attention to illegal acts and unjust decisions by super-rich financiers nationwide. Not much foot traffic due to the weather and perhaps fear of the unholy Occupy mob, but lots of honks and thumbs-up. One pedestrian huffily announced: "I have a job, let me through!" as if we were stopping her - which we were not. Seems everyone else had no problem with the demonstration of free speech.


Above, a Birthday Party demonstrator engages passers-by.

Above, this proud Occupy guy says "We can't keep pissing people off - we need more events like this." He led one mic-check that went: "Thanks to the West Seattle Police - for not beating us - not pepper-spraying us - and joining the party!"

One observer's report on WS Blog:

I was in the immediate area from approx. 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm...I counted 40 people at the apex of the demonstration (8 were kids)
All demonstrators were well behaved, friendly, & courteous. LOTS of smiles & positive energy. Good police presence (no, they did NOT outnumber the demonstrators) Police I spoke with also in an upbeat mode...
NICE to see my fellow citizens out, braving the elements exercising OUR human right to free speech. Whether one agrees with them or not, THANK YOU!
Another observed that MOST of the demonstrators were middle-aged and "looked like teachers" - what does that mean?

I like to think I (left) look more like an artist, but "teacher" - middle-class, respectable, educated, and non-threatening - I'll take it.

Above, more "teacher"-like West Seattle activists.

The event got sympathetic coverage from the West Seattle Herald, where some of us were quoted, including me:
SLIDESHOW: Occupy West Seattle demonstration was peaceful and even fun

I'm working on an idea to make an official Occupy West Seattle banner.

If you liked the photo-diary, please tip and recommend! Thanks!

UPDATE: The rec list!  Only the second time in 6 years!

The rest of the pictures from this event are in this Flickr set:
Occupy West Seattle at Chase Bank

Originally posted to dinazina on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 08:21 AM PDT.

Also republished by Occupy Seattle and Occupy Wall Street.

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