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Protests: A Comparison

The Seattle Police Department has a detailed timeline of events in Seattle on 6/1/2020, the day the SPD decided to barricade a street and prevent protestors from reaching the East Precinct. I’m also drawing on Heidi Groover’s tweets from that day. NPR has a detailed timeline of the Capitol coup attempt; Aaron Rupar’s tweets were also very useful for timing of the rally.

Seattle

5:40 PM: Crowd [at Westlake Park] now approximately 7000, crowd talking about marching to East Precinct
6:02 PM: Crowd starts moving
7:11 PM: march stopped at police line, 11th and Pine [roughly a 25 minute walk from Westlake Park]

Washington, DC

10:53 AM: Giuliani calls for trial by combat
12:03 AM: Trump begins speaking
12:19 AM: Trump calls on his followers to show strength
1:11 PM: Trump’s speech ends with a call to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue
2:07 PM: Rioters arrive at the Capitol Building (roughly a 30 minute walk from the Ellipse)

Comparison

I don’t think we have a solid source for comparing numbers, but each group was in the single digit thousands.

Both cities had plenty of warning. Seattle had been seeing sometimes violent protests for a few days. In DC, Trump had been calling for his supporters to show up. Any difference in preparation is due to a difference in threat assessment.

In both cases, it was unclear that there was going to be a target for the marchers. Seattle PD had about 30 minutes more warning of where the protestors were headed.

I don’t think there’s any excuse for the difference in effectiveness here.

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