HomeBusinessSound Transit closes U District station for Israel-Hamas protest ahead.

Sound Transit closes U District station for Israel-Hamas protest ahead.

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Sound Transit closed the U District light rail station and replaced train service with shuttle buses as a precaution ahead of a pro-Palestinian demonstration. The demonstration was part of an international day of action and called on Sound Transit to sever ties with German energy technology company Siemens. Sound Transit’s governing board has not discussed rethinking its Siemens contract based on Middle East conflicts. The protest had been planned from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and shuttle buses were set to replace the 1 line between the Roosevelt, U District, and University of Washington stations. Sound Transit spokesperson John Gallagher mentioned that the agency looked at several options and decided to close the station to ensure safety, asking citizens for understanding regarding the inconvenience. Protests have taken place almost every weekend since the Israel-Hamas war began in October and have escalated over time, with recent demonstrations obstructing the entrance to the Space Needle, blocking traffic on the University Bridge, and shutting down Interstate 5.

The demonstration was planned for Saturday evening at the U District light rail station in Seattle. It was part of an international day of action and called for a cease-fire while demanding an end to all U.S. aid to Israel. In addition to these demands, the protest also called on Sound Transit to sever ties with German energy technology company Siemens. The closure of the U District Station was announced a little after 5 p.m., with shuttle buses replacing the regular train service. Sound Transit spokesperson John Gallagher stated that the closure was a precautionary measure to ensure the safety of the public and prevent any potential disruptions caused by the demonstration. The transit board has not discussed altering its Siemens contract based on conflicts in the Middle East, and there have been no related studies undertaken by transit staff. The closure of the U District Station added to the disruption of services during the weekend, as five other central Seattle stations were already closed for scheduled track replacement.

The demonstrators gathered outside the station, holding signs and shouting slogans urging Sound Transit to cut ties with Siemens and “Let Gaza Live.” The closure of the station an hour before the protesters arrived was described as an action that made the situation more disruptive than planned. The protest coordinators had aimed to highlight the link between Seattle’s transit and Siemens by riding the escalators and informing passengers. Despite the inconvenience caused to riders due to the temporary service disruption, Sound Transit expressed its respect for the rights of protesters while prioritizing the safety and security of passengers and staff. The demonstrations have been a regular occurrence since the Israel-Hamas war began in October and have occasionally obstructed light rail service.

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