8 arrested, tents cleared Monday at Occupy Seattle
Seattle police and city parks employees went into the Occupy Seattle protesters' encampment in Westlake Park at 7 a.m. Monday morning and cleared out the 150 or so tents and police made eight arrests.
Seattle Times staff reporters
The 150 Occupy Seattle tents in Westlake Park were taken down by 7:30 Monday morning as Seattle police and Seattle parks employees moved in to clear what the city has long said was illegal camping on city property.
Police also arrested eight people.
All the tents were down within a half-hour, according to Assistant Police Chief Mike Sanford.
The protesters were told to take the tents down. If they didn't take them down themselves, police or parks employees took them down for them, according to Sanford.
Seven people were arrested for investigation of obstructing police. Police had original said nine people had been arrested, but changed the number later in the day. The eighth arrest was later in the morning. A woman who sat on a mat in the park was arrested when she refused to leave. When officers tried to physically move her, she resisted and threw a cup of coffee at one of the officers.
One demonstrator, who identified herself as "Sarah T" said that Sunday night was unusually quiet in the makeshift camp, but that early Monday, large groups of police showed up, some on foot and some on bicycles, trampling through the camp and taking down tents.
After the tents came down, some of the 250 or so protesters in the park began chanting, "Show me what oppression looks like." and other protesters responded, "This is what oppression looks like."
Demonstrator Corey Wlodarczyk, a Seattle University law student, said the plan is for protesters to stay at the park, because they still have a message they want to send to the public.
Of the police action in taking down the tents and preventing people from staying in the park, he said, "We all knew it was going to happen. We don't think it's legal."
By about 8:30 a.m. Monday, the number of protesters had dwindled to about 100. Some of those protesters said they would later try to reclaim the park.
On Sunday, protesters had continued to defy the city's law against tents in public parks, with tents pitched from Pike Street to Pine.
No arrests were made overnight Saturday, but protesters said that from about 2 a.m. onward, officers circled the encampment, awakening them in their tents. A police officer who was not authorized to speak said their job was to make sure the protesters didn't sleep.
As the local offshoot of Occupy Wall Street enters its third week, an estimated eight children — including a 2-month-old — slept overnight Saturday in the downtown Seattle park.
"They took the (rain) flap off my tent and told me we need to wake up and leave," said Tacoma resident Cindy Miller, who shared the tent with her 15-year-old son, Brandon. He'd held a sign for hours on Saturday that said, "We need jobs."
Rosemary Spolar, 21, a student at Cornish College of the Arts, said police passed by her tent every 20 minutes, tailed by a protester playing a ukulele to give sleepers early warning. Police asked if she was awake and pointed flashlights into her tent, she said.
"I think I maybe got two hours of sleep," she said.
As the evening cold clamped down Sunday evening, activists settled in for another night. Police had made no arrests by nightfall, and activists declared their intention at the night's general-assembly meeting to pass another peaceful night in the park. Sunday's protest had dwindled to a core of several hundred.
Mark Jamieson, spokesman for Seattle police, said he would not discuss police plans for managing the park Sunday night. And while the law requires the park to be closed by 10 p.m., "the city has been very patient," Jamieson said, "and the department has been very patient. Everyone knows what the rules are. Police work allows for discretion."
On Saturday afternoon, the crowd swelled to an estimated 3,000 for a nonviolent march on Chase Bank and sit-in on Fourth Avenue at Pike Street.
Sanjay Bhatt: 206-464-3103 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Information in this article, originally published Oct. 17, 2001, was corrected Oct. 17, 2011. A previous version of this story said Seattle police had arrested nine protesters. Later in the day they corrected themselves and said they had made eight arrests.
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