Occupy Seattle protesters were removed from Westlake Park Monday morning when Seattle police and parks employees took down all 150 tents and arrested nine people.
The protest began more than two weeks ago, and the police had been saying since the beginning that the protesters were breaking the law by camping in a public park, but they did not try to forcibly remove the occupiers until now.
The eviction and arrests came two days after the number of protesters swelled to 3,000 for a march through downtown Seattle on Saturday.
When the police arrived at Westlake Park on Monday morning, they told the protesters to take their tents down and then took down many of the tents themselves when the protesters refused. Nine people were arrested for resisting the police. One woman who was arrested threw a cup of coffee at a police officer for trying to make her move.
After the tents were dismantled, the number of protesters dropped from about 250 to 100, but the people who stayed in the park said they intended to keep camping out even without the tents, and some of the people who left said they would come back later.
Argues Action Was Illegal
We all knew it was going to happen, protester Corey Wlodarczyk, a law student at Seattle University, told The Seattle Times. We don't think it's legal.
A police spokesman said officials had acted reasonably, allowing the protesters to remain in the park for two weeks in spite of the law against being there after 10 p.m.
The city has been very patient, and the department has been very patient, spokesman Mark Jamieson said. Everyone knows what the rules are. Police work allows for discretion.
Occupy Seattle is one of numerous outgrowths of the movement that began a month ago in New York with Occupy Wall Street. While there are few, if any, official demands, the movement's overarching message is a condemnation of corporate greed and political influence.
In Washington alone, protests have been held in Seattle, Olympia, Spokane, Tacoma and Yakima. Nationally, there are ongoing occupations in numerous cities, including New York, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland and St. Louis.