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'It's extremely frustrating': Olympia residents tired of clashes at downtown protests

Olympia police are bringing in extra staff to keep the peace at two planned protests on Saturday after opposing groups clashed earlier in September.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Two weeks after protests in downtown Olympia turned violent, Olympia police are getting backup ahead of two potential demonstrations Saturday. 

“We don’t really know what’s going to come, we just have to be prepared,” said City Spokesperson Kellie Purce Braseth. 

She said the police department is bringing in extra staffing from neighboring law enforcement agencies to prevent a repeat of what happened on Sept. 4. 

Someone, who police said was with a group allied with Antifa, shot and wounded a member of the Proud Boys group as the two groups clashed at the downtown Intercity Transit Center. 

The man was taken to the hospital with a gunshot wound to his foot, said police. 

Detectives have not identified the shooter. 

“It makes me angry, personally,” said Braseth, “This is my city.” 

Braseth said Olympia, the state’s capital, is used to hosting passionate demonstrations, but it’s “frustrating” when events turn violent. 

Last December, gunshots were fired at events near the Capitol. And in January, a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump broke through a security gate at Gov. Jay Inslee’s executive residence adjacent to the state Capitol building. 

“It’s extremely frustrating,” said Braseth. “Our police department is focused on supporting that, the peaceful gatherings and freedom of speech, but our community also has the right to peace and safety as well.”