Antiwar protesters block Interstate 5 in Seattle on May 5, 1970.

  • By Walt Crowley
  • Posted 1/01/2000
  • Essay 1994
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On May 5, 1970, an estimated 1,000 people surge onto southbound lanes of Interstate 5 in Seattle's University District. The demonstators are protesting the recent invasion of Cambodia and the deaths of four antiwar protesters on the Kent State campus in Ohio the previous day.

The protest began that morning on the campus of the University of Washington. A large mass of demonstrators then left campus and marched north on University Way NE. They turned west on NE 45th Street and approximately 1,000 entered the freeway. The group halted all traffic as they moved south along the freeway over the Ship Canal Bridge. They were met on the far side of the bridge by a handful of state troopers and exited peacefully at the Roanoke Street off-ramp.

More than 10,000 protesters tried to duplicate the "Freeway March" on the following day, but were repulsed by state troopers and police with tear gas and clubs. On May 8, Mayor Wes Uhlman (b. 1935) closed the I-5 express lanes for a sanctioned protest march from downtown Seattle to the University District by some 15,000 demonstrators.


Walt Crowley, Rites of Passage: A Memoir of the Sixties in Seattle (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995).

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