Patriot Prayer, a group founded by Joey Gibson, hosted a pro-gun “Liberty or Death” rally Saturday afternoon by Seattle City Hall.
Emotions boiled over at the otherwise peaceful rally sponsored by Patriot Prayer and the Washington 3 Percent, an organization whose members advocate for the right to bear arms.. Three men were taken into custody before the rally was over.
Both groups are pro-Trump organizations, but their supporters were far outnumbered by counterprotesters.
Seattle police employed their usual strategy of keeping the two groups apart. But that didn't keep some of the tension from reaching a fever pitch.
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The rally started with speeches from Gibson and others in front of City Hall. The Facebook page for the event billed it as a “rally against left-wing violence” and called Initiative 1639, a state initiative to expand gun control, “illegal and unconstitutional.”
There were plenty of jeers and loud siren sounds, meant to drown out the gun rights rally. But, for the most part, the fiery speeches went on as planned.
"We have become absolute zombies in this culture," Gibson told about 150 supporters. "(We're) concerned about celebrities, concerned what car you drive and the money. Our celebrities need to be those who are fighting a tyrannical government."
Across the street, the demonstration was dwarfed by the huge number of counterprotesters.
"These people are anti-everything that unions and working people stand for," said Kathy King, of Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity. "So yeah, we're here. We're here to be loud and make a presence."
All remained peaceful until one man was taken into custody. Seattle bicycle officers moved in, shouting to the crowd to move. That seemed to upset counter protester Jamal X.
"Move back for what?" he asked, holding his protest sign. "That's what we're talking about."
And soon he, too, was in custody.
Once the speeches were over, the gun rights groups marched around City Hall. It was the closest Seattle police allowed them to get to the much larger group of counterprotesters who shouted "Nazis go home!"
Then they turned around and headed back up James Street to continue their march.
"U-S-A," they shouted. "U-S-A, U-S-A."
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