In a pre-dawn SWAT raid, police surrounded Capitol Hill’s 10th and Union area and stormed a building to flush out a group inside. Earlier Friday night, members of Occupy Seattle had entered the slated-for-demolition building and said they intended to use the space as a new headquarters.
Organizers said there had been at least 20 arrests. The arrested were being booked on charges of criminal trespass and included men and women, according to police. A police spokesperson said he could not yet confirm how many people were arrested but that a report would be available later Saturday. UPDATE: King County Jail records indicate 13 people booked this morning for criminal trespass with a handful also booked for obstruction. UPDATEx2: SPD reports 16 arrested. Details below.
The building will be demolished to make way for a 79-unit apartment building. CHS reported Friday morning that the developer plans to begin demolition this week but members of the group said they had heard a rumor that the demolition permit had expired. City records show that the permit is valid through November 2012. Developer Seawest has said it plans to begin construction of the new project in January.
The Friday night takeover came as Seattle’s Occupy group learned that a Thurston County judge had upheld the Seattle Community College system’s right to invoke an emergency rule to ban camping on the Seattle Central campus. It follows a takeover in the Central District of an empty home at 23rd and Alder across the street from Garfield High School. We do not have any reports of a raid at that location but our sister site Central District News reported Friday on efforts being prepared to remove the group squatting in the duplex. Friday night, some of the group taking over the 10th and Union building told CHS they would simply find another building if they were removed. Up Union two blocks, the Undre Arms Apartments sit empty awaiting demolition and another new apartment project.
Early Saturday morning, a large contingent of police were at 10th and Union when CHS arrived following the raid. We were told police began entering the building just before 4am entering through doors and the roof of the building. A Seattle Fire ladder truck was at the scene to provide roof access.
We have not heard reports of injuries at this time.