who may or may not have told them to stop rocking, advanced closer to the kind of picket line. It was hard to tell in the melee as everyone was shouting, but one of the gates started to shake, and there was a tussle over keeping it in place. And that was the first time I think I saw pepper spray being used on the crowd. Pepper spray, I think by its nature, or at least the way that police deployed, it is a little bit indiscriminate—the spray itself is in a projectile trajectory, but it tends to be sprayed with a wide radius, so multiple people were affected.
I guess the most surprising thing was the presence, the immediate presence of people on site who were ready and willing to help. There were protest medics. They had put a medic sticker on their back and were there with water and milk, which I think we’ve now discovered is not the best thing after a pepper-spraying, but people were there ready and willing to help.
ANONYMOUS, 25 SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
It all happened very quickly. I mean, the first demonstration I went to was the day after the video came out. Ten thousand people showed up in downtown Seattle and the police were already there, ready to fight. And they just blocked the march so that we couldn’t march anywhere. And it turned into a confrontation with the police and police cars were burned. The Cheesecake Factory was looted. I got tear-gassed, pepper-sprayed, everything. They weren’t having any of it. That sort of started the ball rolling on everything that’s happened since in Seattle.
SYLVIE THODE, 21
NEW YORK CITY
The first night, I actually figured out where protests were happening based on helicopters in New York, because you could see helicopters sort of hovering over a certain area. In the city during the height of the pandemic it was very, very quiet except for the odd ambulance siren. And now, you hear this quietness, but now there were helicopters interrupting that eerieness. So we heard the helicopters and wanted to go see what was happening. My dad