By MICHAEL WHITNEY
Published June 3, 2020
Snohomish saw no riot Sunday; area Antifa group says it did not post message that drew people to First Street
SNOHOMISH — First Street did not see a large-scale protest like what happened in Seattle and Bellevue in response to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis by a police officer, but rumors that rioters were coming had people lining the sidewalk Sunday, May 31 just in case.
No protestors came as a large group and no shops were smashed.
The rumored risk of something happening did activate a large police presence for Snohomish, including a SWAT team being stationed outside City Hall. The city activated its emergency operations base that afternoon.
The rumor circulated was that an Antifa group, short for anti-fascist, posted online that it would visit Snohomish to agitate in a small town.
The rumor pinpointed that Emerald City Antifa posted, and later deleted, information about a Snohomish meet-up that would
begin at Cady Park.
Emerald City Antifa denied to the Tribune that it posted material about an event in Snohomish. “We did see some screenshots of what you’re referring to. It was not us,” someone from the group wrote in reply to a reporter on Facebook Messenger.
Any protesting was peaceful and nonviolent. There was a group at First Street and Avenue C. One held a homemade sign saying “Black Lives Matter” for hours.
Largely, people convened along the street waiting to see if anything happened. Some turned it into a convivial atmosphere, as people saw each other and chatted. Some business owners stood guard for their livelihoods. One boarded up their shop’s windows as a precaution.
The news about a possible incident did attract a group who wanted to be present to “defend the town.”
A group of firearm open-carry supporters with rifles in-hand and strapped across their chests appeared at 7 p.m. and took positions down First Street. “We have an ice cream shop to defend,” one quipped.
As the evening went into night, the scene had shifted from people anxious about “what if” into basically a party for this group, with tailgates of big pickup trucks down and people hanging out. Some brought beer. A few trucks had Confederate flags posted next to American flags. A group of dump truck drivers circled the city to drive down First Street and blare horns.
There were very few conflicts among people.
There were no arrests, no injuries, and no citations, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Courtney O’Keefe confirmed.
At about 4:30 p.m., two women walked down First Street with buttons and chanted. Separately at about 4:30 p.m., one small group of four people with signs about police reform walked down Maple past the police station and turned at Second Street carrying the signs. A few drivers honked to the signs.
At about 6 p.m., a man walked up and down the sidewalks with a large Trump flag, which got him some thumbs up.
At 9 p.m., three people walked down First Street and received a hostile reaction. The Tribune could not see what was on their signs.
Around 10:45 p.m., two people walked First Street shouting “Black Lives Matter” and got shouted down by the majority of the crowd.
— Reporter Jake Berg contributed reporting
Check out our online publications!