Seattle’s “March Against Sharia” — one of 25 such marches scheduled around the country — was outnumbered by counterprotesters on Saturday, as they faced off in City Hall Plaza.
The counter-protest, called Seattle Stands With Our Muslim Neighbors, overpowered the message of the March Against Sharia by chanting slogans in support of Muslims and against xenophobia, and using noisemakers to drown out the “anti-Sharia” message.
The crowd was multi-faith and multi-ethnic. Faith Action Network, a Seattle group that includes leaders from many different religious groups, and numerous other political and religious groups brought signs and chanted.
Labor groups including the United Food and Commercial Workers were represented.
“I don’t want to live in a melting pot. I want to live in a salad,” said Mark McDermott of the UFCW. “Where all our cultures are held together by a dressing of love and tolerance.”
“March Against Sharia” was organized by ACT for America, a national organization that has claimed that it stands for human rights. But the group’s founder Brigitte Tudor has spread rhetoric against Muslims. People in that march carried signs criticizing Islam — some aimed at Sharia law and others aimed at the religion itself. Several people wore shirts supporting President Donald Trump and one man waved pork rind snacks at the counterprotesters.
While the face-off at City Hall Plaza was peaceful, a portion of both groups broke off and moved to Occidental Park in Pioneer Square, where Seattle Police used pepper spray to break up what it called “a large fight” between the factions. Three people were arrested, according to police.