An assortment of local, national, and international activist organizations commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Sat., Dec. 13 with a march through downtown Seattle. The march began outside the Washington State Trade and Convention Center, proceeded downtown through Pike Place Market, and concluded with a gathering at Westlake Park that featured performances by local poets Moni Tep and eLa, folk musician Leith, and hip hop musician El Dia.
Approximately 150 people participated in the march, representing a wide range of organizations such as Amnesty International, Jobs with Justice, Khmer In Action, Palestine Solidarity Committee, International Socialist Organization, and the Philippine-U.S. Solidarity Movement (PUSO), the event's main organizer.
Though relatively low in numbers, the demonstrators were loud, lively, and armed with conviction. They were escorted by police and cheered on by more than a few of the onlookers. Addressing the crowd later, Juan Jose Bocanegra, a prominent local activist now with Jobs with Justice said, "It was really nice to walk down the street and see people applauding you all."
Some of the specific issues demonstrators said they were protesting included U.S. aggression in the Middle East, the living conditions of people in Palestine and the Philippines, attacks on immigrants by federal authorities, and incidents of police brutality.
Asked to name the main thread unifying the different groups in attendance, Carl Larson of the Palestine Solidarity Committee said, "We all realize that American foreign policy has some gigantic problems that need to be addressed." Demonstrator Cynthia Whetsell commented that everyone was there because they recognized the "oppression and exploitation of people suffering all around the world" as well as realizing that "the main one doing that is the U.S."