Seattle Police and anti-police protesters ended 2020 in familiar fashion on Capitol Hill with clashes and arrests near the 12th Ave youth jail and the East Precinct after reports of property damage and more broken glass at an area business targeted in previous attacks.
Friday morning, owner Faizel Khan was sweeping up glass from busted windows at his Cafe Argento on 12th Ave at E Olive St. Khan’s business was first targeted this summer and he was at the center of a New York Times report on the police defunding movement that took a critical look at the effort through the eyes of local businesses and property owners. The small business is also part of a handful joining a group of developers and property owners suing the city over its response to the protests.
SPD reports four arrests in the New Year’s Eve incidents as demonstrators gathered in the recently reopened Cal Anderson and marched to the King County Youth Service Center at 12th and Alder before returning to Capitol Hill and a tussle with police up and down E Pine.
“Near East Marion Street and 12th Avenue, police arrested a suspect for property damage that occurred earlier during the march,” police report. “The suspect had fireworks and a glass beverage bottle full of gasoline on his person at the time of his arrest. While the group and police were at 12th and Marion, a separate unidentified member of the group threw frozen eggs at officers.” A second arrest was made outside the youth jail after fireworks were reported being aimed at the facility and its ongoing construction.
More arrests were reported at 12th and Pine outside the walls of the East Precinct barriers where demonstrators reportedly set a flag on fire and were blocking traffic. Police say they made two arrests there for “vandalizing the East Precinct.”
Activists say the New Year’s Eve demonstrations were parts of ongoing protests against police violence and a candlelight vigil for Tamir Rice, the Black 12-year-old shot and killed by a white police officer in Cleveland in November 2014.
Demonstrators reported additional arrests Friday night as a smaller group of protesters was reported vandalizing the East Precinct’s barrier walls with chalk and graffiti.
Police declare NYE riot: A riot was declared for "criminal mischief" during a New Year's Eve protest and vigil. pic.twitter.com/EJNjv1wkea
— Renee Raketty (@ReneeRaketty) January 1, 2021
The continued unrest comes after the SPD and city sweep of Cal Anderson just before Christmas to clear homeless encampments and activists from the park and a year of protests, rallies, and marches centered around the East Precinct.
Mayor Jenny Durkan has said the precinct barriers must be removed but that the building’s safety is also a priority. How that balance plays out in 2021 is yet to be made clear. For now, the large cement barriers added in response to the unrest remain in place.
Meanwhile, encampments have grown in other Capitol Hill parks in the wake of the Cal Anderson clearance.
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