News and Commentary

Seattle Mayor: White Men Behind Much Of The Violence, Destruction
Seattle Mayor jenny Durkan speaks at a press conference on March 28, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. The mayor and other leaders from Washington state discussed the deployment of a new field hospital at CenturyLink Field Event Center which is expected to create at least 150 hospital beds for non-COVID-19 cases and will include 300 soldiers from the 627th Army Hospital at Fort Carson, Colorado. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
Karen Ducey/Getty Images

In a series of social media posts on Sunday, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) suggested that outsiders were to blame for the violence that erupted in her city and took a moment to “acknowledge” that “white men” are “co-opting peaceful demonstrations” and are behind “much of the violence and destruction” raging in Seattle and across the country.

“I want to acknowledge that much of the violence and destruction, both here in Seattle and across the country, has been instigated and perpetuated by white men,” Durkan tweeted Sunday.

“These individuals experience the height of privilege and are co-opting peaceful demonstrations that were organized by and meant to center people of color, particularly Black Americans,” she wrote in a follow-up post.

On Saturday, Durkan provided her account of the riots that erupted in the city that day. In the thread, she condemned those who came to Seattle “with the purpose of destruction,” and made a point of differentiating them from members of “our city.”

“Today, many came together to grieve, protest, and commit themselves to justice. Coming together is a right we all honor and cherish. For most of the day, the demonstrations were peaceful,” she wrote in the first of a series of tweets (posts below). “Individuals gathered and spoke outside City Hall early this afternoon. Thousands marched and then peacefully gathered at Westlake.”

“However, in the late afternoon, demonstrations downtown quickly escalated and turned violent,” the mayor continued. “Demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails at cars and buildings, some threw lit fireworks into peaceful crowds, individuals threw boulders, bricks, and defaced buildings.”

“At times, firefighters couldn’t access burning cars because of the crowds,” Durkan underscored.

“Individuals who came to Seattle with the purpose of destruction: We will not let your chaos define our city,” she declared. “The escalated incidents that took place during today’s demonstrations cannot, and will not, be allowed to continue.”

She followed that post with an expression of sympathy for those deeply grieved by the police-involved deaths of African Americans.

“I understand the immense rage, grief, and sense of betrayal felt by not only our community, but by communities across our country,” wrote Durkan.

Continuing this more positive approach, Durkan expressed her hope that “we treat each other with the kindness and compassion that we all deserve during this unprecedented and trying moment in our history.”

“I think we will see the message of destruction is not as strong as the message of hope, love, and peace,” she wrote.

Like many cities being ravaged by riots, Seattle has imposed a curfew. Among Durkan’s many riot-focused posts over the weekend were reminders about her emergency order imposing a 5 p.m. curfew. “To protect the health and safety of our residents, I have issued an emergency order and established a 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for tonight and tomorrow, and an order prohibiting weapons citywide,” the Democratic mayor wrote Saturday.

Over the last few days, thousands of people involved in riots were arrested across the country.

Meanwhile, President Trump has been ramping up pressure on governors and mayors to take more aggressive action to quell the violence and has repeatedly condemned the riots, which he has described as “professionally organized,” specifically pointing to radical Antifa groups as the primary organizers. On Sunday, Trump announced that the U.S. “will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.”

Related: Trump Breaks Silence, Slams Biden’s Staff For ‘Working To Get The Anarchists Out Of Jail’

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