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Trump protest march could clog Seattle business district on crucial day for merchants

Seattle’s Chinatown is shown in this 1999 file photo. A women’s march, being held in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, is expected to draw some 50,000 people who will walk from Judkins Park in the Central District to Seattle Center, passing through Chinatown-International District along the way. (BARRY SWEET / Associated Press)
Seattle’s Chinatown is shown in this 1999 file photo. A women’s march, being held in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, is expected to draw some 50,000 people who will walk from Judkins Park in the Central District to Seattle Center, passing through Chinatown-International District along the way. (BARRY SWEET / Associated Press)
By Janet I. Tu Seattle Times

SEATTLE – Some businesses and community members in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District are concerned that the Women’s March on Saturday could disrupt sales on what is typically the biggest shopping day of the year for some of the neighborhood’s stores.

The march, being held in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, is expected to draw some 50,000 people who will walk from Judkins Park in the Central District to Seattle Center, passing through Chinatown-International District along the way.

But this Saturday also marks part of the last weekend before Lunar New Year, an important holiday in many Asian cultures. Many people shop on this last weekend to prepare for the festivities and gatherings that happen during Lunar New Year, which this year falls on Jan. 28.

On the weekend before Lunar New Year, “we usually double our sales from a typical Saturday,” said Leeching Tran, vice president of Viet-Wah Supermarket.

Tran, along with other community members, have written open letters to the community in the International Examiner, urging marchers to eat at restaurants in the Chinatown-International District/Little Saigon before or after the march, and to do their grocery or other shopping there that day or other days.

“We would just like people to know that the march going through the International District is going to have a significant impact on the businesses here, especially this weekend, which is a critical time for many of the businesses here,” Tran said. “There’s not much that we can do about it besides support these businesses.

“Come back and visit after the march is over and continue to support these small businesses which are going to have a tough time on this day.”

Tran said she’s a big supporter of the march, which is intended to show support for people who may be threatened by a Trump presidency.

Indeed, the reason Tran found out the march would be going down S. Jackson Street in the Chinatown-International District is that she was planning to march herself.

She’s still planning to do so, Tran said.

“It’s just the planning and the way it unfolded was a little unfortunate,” she said. “We weren’t asked about any of it.”

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