They started to file in around 10:00 AM. A small caravan of three vehicles pulled into the Island Fitness parking lot to discuss next steps. That’s when I was able to take a snapshot of the #fuckinslee truck which made the rounds of Bainbridge Island Facebook groups today. From there, they seemed to vanish into the fog.
Fast forward an hour and a couple of random sightings, I jumped in my truck and headed down the “parade route”. First I checked Bjune and saw a few folks for the protest sitting at the Senior Center.
On the ride, I noticed over 5 police cruisers in the area with others staged at the Bainbridge Island Police Station. There were officers from Washington State Patrol, Kitsap County Sheriffs Department and Bainbridge Island Police Department. I even saw a unit from the Bainbridge Island Fire Department heading into the Police Station parking lot.
Next, I spotted the lone counter protester of the day, Bainbridge Island Race Equity Task Force Co-Chair James Friday. He was parked playing an “inspirational” music playlist to help represent for his side of the issues.
After speaking with Mr. Friday for a moment, I drove up Madison and turned into the City Hall area. That's where I came upon the larger of the groups for the first time.
There were approximately 12-15 folks with flags, colorful Americana spandex, 1 open carry side arm semiautomatic pistol and not a single mask on a single face in the entire group. I was actually a bit surprised. Later on I saw one gentlemen with a mask on but it was around his neck, not over his mouth or nose.
Upon arrival, I got a few looks as I started to exit my vehicle. They could see I had a camera out and was recording. Two gentlemen walked up to me. I stated I was with a show called Wake Up Bainbridge and that I was there to cover the event. I politely asked if anyone would like to give a comment. At that point, one of the two gentlemen did an about face and turned away. He was not a fan of being on camera.
The other gentleman was willing to give on air comments. You can see those in their entirety here only on Wake Up Bainbridge.
He didn't want to say his name but went on to explain that he and the group were tired of the "fear" and where here to “Organize to protest Governor Inslee’s dictatorial mindset.” They were in complete disagreement with the restrictions put on people’s businesses and livelihoods.
The co-lead stated:
“The cure cannot be worse than the disease itself. When it gets to that point, we seriously have to rethink how we handle things. People are committing suicide…”
After the interview I jumped back in my truck and did another loop around the route. Not seeing anything new or significant, I took a right on Erickson and made a left into the back parking lot of the Bainbridge Performing Arts. I decided to stay clear of the group and parked in the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum lot. I walked over to the group but from a different vantage point.
The group staged for about 35 minutes, having an occasional huddle to discuss details. You could hear, “no masks” shouted a few times. I am not sure if they were errant yells or instructions to the group for solidarity. Either way, no one seemed to be wearing a mask.
The group got some instruments out of cars (drum and guitar) and began a pretty uneventful protest/march down the road onto Winslow Way. They crossed the street and headed east towards Governor Jay Inslee’s private residence on the very far end of Winslow. The group didn’t chant. They didn't openly carry AR15s down Main Street. They beat a drum and waved their signs. It was pretty peaceful...
The Anti Inslee march was able to walk right past Bainbridge Island Police officers that had set up a barricade and checkpoint for all vehicles entering the area. All protesters were on foot. Vehicles that drove to the road were asked what business they had in the area.
I will report that the lone counter protester did make it past the police line in a vehicle stating that he got lost.
Along the parade route more protesters got out of cars and joined the march. The 15 plus that had left the City parking lot were now a good 30 plus. And that 30 was now met at the end of the parade route by a group of 10 plus whom had been staging with food, beverage, megaphones, professional cameras and some members of the other local press places in the area.
The publicized host and leader of the group Lindsey "Linz Wynn" Nguyen was first to give comment. Then some others jumped on the microphone and spoke about similar feelings regarding the Governor's actions. The gentleman that had given me an interview took direct aim at the Inslee household with the megaphone. But Inslee was in Olympia.
Other things to note. There were 2 Washington State Trooper vehicles with 3 Troopers parked below Jay Inslee’s private home. It looks like the protesters were either allowed to set up on someones private property or took the liberty themselves or someone whom lives directly across the street from Jay Jay told them it was ok.
Oh, and there was mobile port-a-potty in case any crap went down.
All in all the event looked much more organized and attended than most initially thought. There were many members of the public out and about with their camera phones capturing this historic event. As far as I know, it was the first Thanksgiving Day Parade of Bainbridge Island.
I reached out to the Bainbridge Island Police Department for any information or an after incident report. When I know, you will know.
It's been a long day. We at Wake Up Bainbridge are grateful to live here on Bainbridge Island and grateful to have you all staying woke with us.
Stay tuned and Stay Woke!