25 arrested at 'Occupy Seattle' protest


by KING 5 News


Posted on October 4, 2011 at 2:57 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 5 at 10:24 PM

SEATTLE - Protesters and Seattle police officers clashed at Westlake Park as officers tried to remove protesters at Occupy Seattle.   Police arrested 25 people as protesters ignored orders to pack up their tents and move out of the city park.  

Police officers on bicycles and in paddy wagons arrived around 1:20 p.m., telling protesters who camped out overnight to move their tents to allow park workers to clean the park. A few protesters at the scene were rolling up their tents while others still remained.

Around 2:45 p.m., things turned physical as police began using force to remove some protesters who were were intent on staying. At least two people have been arrested for refusing to leave and more arrests were expected.

Protesters were heard shouting "Cops, pigs, murderers" and "all day, all year we're not going anywhere."

On Tuesday, Mayor Mike McGinn said the hundreds of protestors participating in the rally were more than welcome, but their tents had to go. He gave them the end of day Tuesday to clear out, but by noon Wednesday many were still there.

The Occupy Seattle protest entered its fourth day and is an off-shoot of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement against corporate greed. The local protest started as a small group at the federal building on Saturday and has now grown to more than a hundred at Westlake Park.

Protesters have set up more than 50 tents in the south end of the city plaza. Many said if they are confronted by police officers Wednesday, they'll go quietly, but others are standing firm.

"If we have to be here without tents, we'll be here without tents," says Michael Hines, an out of work graphic designer who is taking part in the rally. "People are going to come back, people are going to continue to protest until the system changes in a dramatic way."

The Occupy Seattle group comprises mostly of twentysomethings who are standing up to corporate greed in America. But there is no leadership to the group and there seems to be some confusion about their message.

Protesters at Westlake Park spoke out about everything from the war in Afghanistan to the state of the environment to just the state of America in general. They also say they're supporting protestors on Wall Street, who are standing up for working class America.

"We're Seattle and we're showing that we have soldarity with what's going on over there," said Christina Purington, protester. "And we dont like what's going on with the bail out, or why the 99 percent of us are getting screwed over so bad."

Sixteen demonstrators were interviewed and released from police custody.  Those 16 cases will be forwarded to the city attorney's office where it is expected they'll be charged with obstructing a police officer.

KING 5's Jake Whittenberg, Linda Brill, Mimi Jung and Chris Daniels contributed to this report.