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Police bust up crowds for fifth night in a row after demonstrations and fires in the street follow Cal Anderson march

(Image: Matt Mitgang with permission to CHS)

A large march in solidarity with protest movements in Portland and around the world traveled from Capitol Hill to City Hall and back Saturday. For the fifth night in a row, the demonstrations ended with police locking down the blocks around the East Precinct and streets covered with fire retardant foam.

Like the early days before the CHOP protest occupation, there is no clear end in sight to nightly clashes with police and property damage from police and protesters as demonstrators demand major systemic changes and SPD shifts its strategies nightly to try to quell the crowds. Some point to the City Council’s overrides of Mayor Jenny Durkan’s vetoes of budget cuts to the Seattle Police Department but there is much left to be worked out on that front as concern grows over how the Durkan administration will respond and deploy the millions in community funds earmarked for Black and BIPOC-led organizations. Meanwhile, incidents of police killings continue to stoke frustrations.


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Seattle Police and demonstrators reported at least 10 were arrested overnight Saturday, the majority swept up and singled out in the first clash of the evening just after 7 PM as SPD command issued its first dispersal order of the night after fires were set in the street to barricades of debris, and objects gathered from nearby sidewalks and business fronts.

It follows a string of marches followed by confrontations this week. Friday night’s conflict took on more mobile proportions with small fires set across the Central District including a fire set inside the construction site on the youth jail campus along 12th Ave that reportedly did little damage. Thursday also featured burning barricades and arrests around the East Precinct.

Saturday night’s incidents began in an afternoon gathering at Cal Anderson with livestreamers showing larger crowds to march in solidarity with other Black Lives Matter demonstrations in other cities. The procession’s return to Capitol Hill was also a crowded affair, busy with restaurant and nightlife crowds only partly limited by the current COVID-19 restrictions.

SPD’s response shifted slightly in the midst of the busier environment as individual incident commanders attempted to directly address the crowds including the announcements of dispersal orders. The department reported and posted pictures of property damage from across the day’s activities here.

There were at least three dispersal orders given on the night as SPD would gather its forces and, usually led by bike officers and blast balls, move in to clear crowds around street fires. After the first order around 7 PM, another followed around 7:45 PM and yet another an hour later after a large fire was set at 11th and E Olive St.

By that point, SPD had stopped including media in its orders to clear the area as reporters, and green-helmeted legal observers started to outnumber demonstrators.


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18 thoughts on “Police bust up crowds for fifth night in a row after demonstrations and fires in the street follow Cal Anderson march” -- All CHS Comments are held for moderation before publishing

  1. These young men are “invaders” into our Capitol Hill community. Their MO is violence and destruction and are as bad as any warmongers in the world. They are attempting to destroy Capitol Hill. I wish that they would go to their neighborhood and see what their neighbors would think about them. Their violence has nothing to do with BLM and all to do with their testosterone and maieness. They are criminals.. They are hurting the movement for racial justice and all they care about is their warlike mentality.

    • Say what ever you will about the diversity of tactics employed, but I will correct you to say that many of these protestors are female and many more are from Capitol Hill. I watched one guy break his own windows at their own apartment 🤷‍♀️

      • Violence is NOT “diversity”, it is unwelcome, dangerous, and illegal whether it is perpetrated by men or women.

        And the fact that someone would willingly destroy their own property means that they probably have a severe mental health issue and we should not be idolizing their behavior.

  2. Windows were broken at Hugo House, a non-profit that serves writers. And the small business next to them, a Korean restaurant. How is this helpful? I want to see arrests, detention, and charges for every single act of destruction or violence. Every tent in the park needs to go. The police station needs to remove the barricades but first the real people of Capitol Hill, including the police, need to take back the neighborhood.

  3. This is beginning to feel like we (the residents in this neighborhood) are in the middle of a low-grade nightly civil war. It’s very draining. We shouldn’t have to feel unsafe from both “protestors” (which are using fire/explosives) and police.

  4. Honestly, as much as I understand the urge to burn everything to the ground, I wish the protesters would have some empathy for the people who live in the neighborhood. We are all struggling right now. My husband lost his job, we were trapped in the house for two weeks due to smoke, we can barely afford to live in the neighborhood we’ve spent the last 20 years in, and now we’re dealing with being afraid to leave the house because of the fires and police response.

    I’ve marched with BLM and for immigrants’ rights. I flew to D.C. to march. I’ve registered people to vote. I’ve volunteered in food pantries and given money to charities to help underprivileged youth. These fires and the mob violence is affecting my mental health and my ability to function in my job. I am up all night thanks to the flash bombs going off until 3am. Not only that, but all the rioters are doing is playing right into Trump’s hands. His approval ratings were tanking until left wing violence gave him all the ammo he needed. Now his law and order message is resonating with people just like it did with Nixon. The tactics you’ve chosen to use are simply not working and historically have not worked. Please have some compassion and rethink your strategy.

  5. https://recallsawant2020.org/
    Don’t let Seattle become the next Portland where businesses are closing left and right. Her anti-business motivations are threatening to ruin Seattle’s economic and once peaceful city.
    We need 10k signatures by Feb 2021 to get her out of City council and it’s gonna take a lot of work. Sign the petition, donate, or just spread the word.

    • Blaming protests for business closures instead of Covid is desperate. Blaming Sawant is even more desperate. This false right wing narrative continues to spread just like a disease. If there was a major earthquake you’d blame Sawant too. Your candidate lost. Get over it.

  6. Yes, many of the protesters are peaceful, but they are providing a platform for the far-left criminals to inevitably do their violent thing, and so in my opinion the peaceful elements are part of the problem. Just stay home and work within the system!

    • They cheered, and not 1 stepped up to say “hey that’s wrong” when a “protester” tried to murder an officer by smashing a baseball bat in to his skull. Not all of them are behaving violently, but I have yet to see anyone – after months of filming on the ground at these – step in and say “that’s not ok” despite accusing SPD officers of never doing that with their cohorts. Since personnel files are not made public, there’s no way to prove that the narrative about SPD is wrong and that cohorts do report others for wrongdoing, especially this generation of cops hired in the last 8 years.

  7. This isn’t just happening on the hill. I have video of it happening all over downtown, including the smashing up of multiple courthouses. The protesters use their umbrellas to try to hide those doing the smashing up (joke’s on them, there are cameras in adjacent buildings and on top of them as well downtown) and they threaten people who try to film it. You and I will pay for all of that repair with our taxes, money that comes out of the same fund the protesters allegedly want to give money to homeless, BIPOC, etc.

    Meanwhile, MSM hardly shows any of this, just like the guy getting rolled over with the walked bicycle is on every news station but the video (not a grainy still but actual video) of the protester winding up like Willie Mays and attempting to murder an SPD officer by hitting him in skull with a bat gets hardly any airtime at all, except on Twitter.

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