The Microsoft Bus protestors.
Remember how the second wave of coffee started with Peet's here in the Bay Area, before migrating up to the Pacific Northwest only to turn lame once Starbucks showed up? Well, that process is happening again, except this time it's not drip coffee but direct action.
That's right, Seattle just had its inevitable Microsoft bus protest. It was just like the Google bus protests, except expensive, buggy, and featuring a terribly unintuitive user interface.
Worse, the town in which the Battle of Seattle brought tens of thousands to the streets only managed to scrounge up two protestors to try to block the corporate shuttles. Two? Two.
The two activists, who wore masks, unfurled a banner that read "Gentrification Ends Here." According to the Capitol Hill Seattle blog, that neighborhood has several parallels to San Francisco's Mission District, with increasing concerns about affordability amidst rising rents and construction of newer, taller apartment buildings.
The protestors handed out a flyer handed that read in part, "The Microsoft Connector bus is an active agent in the hyper-gentrification of Capitol Hill and other rapidly transforming Seattle neighborhoods. Microsoft has given its 40,000 local employees the easy ability to live anywhere they want in Seattle without having to worry about navigating the tiresome commute to the Redmond campus." The flyer went on to state that, "well-paid tech industry employees have flooded Seattle's neighborhoods, driving up the cost of living [...] With the completion of each new development, the rents increase and more of us are forced to leave." It concluded, "It's time to ask ourselves if this sterile future is the one we want to inhabit. It's time to finally stop this insane orgy of technology, development, and greed."
According to a Seattle anarchist website, five buses were blocked for a total of 45 minutes, before the police dispersed the protestors. The post went on to warn that, "Google now circles Redmond like a vulture [...] waiting to devour Microsoft’s corpse should it collapse."
In related news, several Mission protestors declared themselves to have been into blocking buses before it was cool, and stated further that the scene had gotten so lame since back in the day.