A Seattle children's choir performance was cancelled because of overzealous Ferguson protesters.
The choir from the 5th Avenue Theater planned on singing Christmas carols at the annual tree lighting ceremony at Westlake Center. Due to the protestors and fear for the children’s safety, the performance was cancelled, reports My Northwest.
Local TV anchor Mark Wright, who was covering the event with fellow anchor Joyce Taylor, posted his reaction to the event 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.
Photojournalist Joshua Trujillo tweeted that the children were terrified, and that the protesters surrounded them.
“Children here at Westlake to perform holiday music onstage absolutely terrified as protesters surround them on stage. #ferguson,” Trujillo tweeted at 10:09 PM.
“Kids, 7-10, here to perform carols ended up surrounded by #ferguson protesters on stage. All in tears,” Trujillo tweeted at 10:16 PM.
The protesting had begun earlier in the day, blocking traffic around Westlake Park, a retail hub in Seattle.
“Black lives matter,” and “Justice for Michael Brown,” were chanted by the protesters.
The protesters made their way into Westlake Center and occupied all three floors of the mall. They then went to nearby Pacific Place and chanted, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” as they went up the escalators to the mall’s top floor. The protesters eventually went back to Westlake Center for the Christmas tree lighting ceremony—the mall had been closed earlier because of the protest.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray released this statement:
“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,” Mayor Murray wrote. “I support the First Amendment rights of protesters, but violence against property or police officers will not be tolerated in our city.”
The leader of the protest, Marissa Johnson, gave her own response, reports The Blaze.
“America goes where their pocketbook goes, so today we’re blocking Black Friday. We want you to be uncomfortable shopping,” Johnson said.
According to Seattle police, five arrests were made, and two allegedly occurred because of protesters assaulting officers.
Although the children’s choir performance was cancelled, the tree lighting did happen, and a fireworks display went off as planned.