Among the feats many Michael Brown protesters pulled off as they stormed Seattle’s Westlake Mall on Black Friday was targeting a children’s choir set to sing Christmas carols, KING-TV reported as part of a video segment.
A journalist with KING, Mark Wright, wrote this on his Facebook page:
Some of you may know that tonight’s tree lighting at Westlake Center was cut short by protesters. I feel really bad for a group of children from the 5th Avenue Theater. They came tonight, excited to sing. When the protesters overtook the balcony, the children were absolutely terrified. I helped usher them to the far end of the balcony where they would be safe. They huddled with their chaperones and each other, some of them crying, until police got the protesters out of there. As a journalist, I’m absolutely in favor of the right to free speech. This was not free speech tonight. The protesters appear to simply want to disrupt, and in doing so, traumatized some beautiful young kids.
Local photojournalist Joshua Trujillo tweeted that the protesters actually surrounded the children, aged 7 to 10, who were set to sing carols:
A KING reporter noted that other children in the crowd “looked confused” regarding the protesters’ actions.
“While I understand the hurt and frustration that our city has experienced in the past days, this is a city that respects the rule of law,” Seattle Mayor Ed Murray wrote in a statement. “I support the First Amendment rights of protesters, but violence against property or police officers will not be tolerated in our city.”
March leader Marissa Johnson countered, telling KING that “America goes where their pocketbook goes, so today we’re blocking Black Friday. We want you to be uncomfortable shopping.”
The protesters, who also attempted to disrupt a tree-lighting ceremony, managed to get the mall shut down four hours early on the busiest shopping day of the year.
Once tree lighting was complete, Mayor Murray and Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole visited with the young carolers who were interrupted by protesters, KING reported, citing the mayor’s office.
Courtesy of the blaze