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Rep. Larsen cancels Everett event after pro-Palestine protests target his fundraisers

Demonstrators shut down congressman's Bellingham event last week

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen speaks to a crowd during his Tuesday, June 18 reelection event at the Boundary Bay Brewery and Bistro in Bellingham. (Eric Becker/Cascadia Daily News)
By Isaac Stone Simonelli Enterprise/Investigations Reporter

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen canceled his 2024 campaign event in Everett on Monday, June 24, following a wave of pro-Palestine protests that have crashed his last three fundraisers in District 2.

“In the last week, pro-Palestine demonstrators have disrupted community events I held throughout the district,” Larsen said. “I expect the same to occur tonight in Everett.”

Snohomish County Kickoff Event, set to take place at Scuttlebutt Brewing Taproom, was slated to be part of a series launching Larsen’s 2024 campaign. 

The congressman’s event in Bellingham was prematurely shut down after protestors shouted the congressman out of the event space on Tuesday, June 18. 

“We’re done letting them have a moment of peace,” pro-Palestine protester Ariel Chilton told Cascadia Daily News at the time.

Since then, the protesters have disrupted the congressman’s fundraisers in Mount Vernon and Friday Harbor.

“No business as usual while Larsen green-lights genocide,” organizer Callie Lowenstein wrote in a news release sent to CDN.

The statement called for an arms embargo of Israel and full reinstatement of funding to United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. It also alleged that Larsen’s staff and Skagit River Brewery staff “manhandled” protesters, as well as racially profiled them as potential disruptors of the event.

The congressman said that while his campaign staff are capable and dedicated, they are not trained nor equipped to conduct security. His team did not respond to CDN’s inquiry into whether or not the protests will change his security protocols during the election.


“The demonstrators have unfairly targeted my staff on social media and in-person at these events with verbal abuse that makes them feel threatened,” Larsen said. “It does not seem fair to subject them to another night of it.”

Additionally, he pointed out that he was unable to guarantee the safety of staff at the venue or the patrons.

“The demonstrators and their tactics have not changed my position on Hamas’ unjustified attack on innocent Israeli civilians on October 7, 2023,” Larsen said. “I support President Biden’s calls for a cease-fire and his cease-fire plan, which is supported by a unanimous vote of the UN Security Council.”

In April, Larsen voted in support of the Israel Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, which provided $13 billion to replenish U.S. stocks of equipment and weapons sent to Israel’s military, support U.S. operations in the region and fund Israel’s missile defense systems. The bill also included $9.15 billion for humanitarian assistance in Gaza and worldwide.

One protester previously told CDN that the money tagged for humanitarian assistance felt performative in the face of the billions of dollars of weapons being sent to Israel.

Despite the protests and the cancellation of the Snohomish County Kickoff Event, Larsen said the launch was a “resounding success.”

“I met with 90-plus voters, had in-person conversations about the issues affecting them the most, and shared my top priorities: protecting reproductive freedom, combating fentanyl in our communities and building an economy that works for everyone,” he said. “I will still be on the campaign trail this summer and fall working hard to earn the support of the voters of the 2nd District.”

The campaign raised $24,500 — vastly exceeding the goal of $3,500 for the kickoff.

Isaac Stone Simonelli is CDN’s enterprise/investigations reporter; reach him at isaacsimonelli@cascadiadaily.com; 360-922-3090 ext. 127.

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