by: Alison Grande Updated:SEATTLE, Wash. —
Protestors dressed in face masks and armed with a banner that said "Gentrification Ends Here" blocked Connector buses on Capitol Hill for nearly an hour on Monday morning at Pine and Bellevue.
"I think they're a little bit misguided. I don’t think it's the Microsoft Connector because the rents are going up on Capitol Hill," said JJ Butler, who took cellphone video of the protest.
Five buses were blocked by a small group of protestors until Seattle police arrived.
The protestors left fliers on car windshields that said, in part, "This Microsoft Connector bus is an active agent in the hyper-gentrification of Capitol Hill and other rapidly transforming Seattle neighborhoods."
"The Connector bus helps Microsoft draw young employees into its ranks by allowing them to live in hip neighborhoods. This functions nicely within the City's ongoing (and so far quite successful) project to shape Seattle into an upscale yuppie neighborhood."
Scott Keating agrees with the message of the protestors.
"I think they're doing it a little too fast. They're putting condos up and moving all the rich people in here and push everybody, normal working people, out," said Keating, who also lives in subsidized housing.
The protest is similar to events staged in San Francisco where people stopped shuttle buses from Google from moving.
The labor activist group called Jobs With Justice, which helped organize some of the events, said it was not connected with this protest.
An anarchist blog took credit for the event with a post that included the message:
"We will fight every evil empire wherever it emerges. Feel free to organize your own actions. We are taking the simplest actions for now, but imagination and initiative are all that is necessary to expand the rebellion. Feel free to bring the struggle wherever you see fit and communicate your intentions clearly. Fight their future! Join the Counterforce!"
Capitol Hill resident Adam McRoberts doesn't like the rising rents but also doesn't agree with the protest.
"When I moved up here 10 years ago, Broadway was kind of in disrepair. The Pike/Pine area wasn't as vibrant as they are today," said McRoberts.
In fact, he said the area has become more diverse because of employees from big corporations that live in the area.
"I think we should be thanking Microsoft, and Amazon, and Boeing for all that they've brought the money and the talent and the way of life that we have here," said McRoberts.
Seattle police said it is closely monitoring the situation.
A Microsoft spokesperson wouldn't comment.