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Politicians upstaged by protesters at hate-free rally

Rally organizers handed out signs declaring Washington a 'hate-free state.'
KUOW Photo/Ruby de Luna
Rally organizers handed out signs declaring Washington a 'hate-free state.'

Washington elected officials who came out to denounce racism and hate found themselves in a verbal match against protesters.

What started as a show of support for members of a Redmond mosque was disrupted by residents opposing a proposed juvenile detention center in Seattle.

Governor Jay Inslee told supporters Washington is proud of many things, including winning sports championships. “But today,” he said, “we’re most proud to say that Washington was, is, and will always be a hate-free state.”

The proclamation comes after the granite sign outside the Muslim Association of Puget Sound was vandalized for a second time last weekend.

Since the election, reports of hate crimes and threats have gone up. They’ve been directed at immigrants and people of color.  

Inslee vowed to protect all Washington residents regardless of their immigration status, starting with the Dreamers, or undocumented students in state universities and colleges. 

“To the president-elect: Keep your hands off Huskies and Cougars and Vikings and Eagles,” Inslee said. “We’re standing for those Dreamers right here in the state of Washington.”

After Inslee spoke, King County Executive Dow Constantine took to the podium to share his remarks, but he didn’t get very far.

Dozens of protesters showed up who oppose construction of a new youth jail on 12th and East Alder Street. They interrupted Seattle Mayor Ed Murray who continued to speak over their chants. They say officials can’t talk about a hate-free zone while putting children in jail.

Year started with KUOW: 1994