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At least 45 arrested after police declare riot at Seattle protests, several officers injured

Seattle police arrested at least 45 people after declaring Saturday's protest a riot due to extensive damage inflicted on businesses and the East Precinct.

SEATTLE — Seattle police declared a riot following large demonstrations in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood and arrested more than 40 people. Twenty-one officers were also hurt, and one had to be taken to the hospital for treatment.

Thousands of people gathered Saturday afternoon to march through Capitol Hill and protest police brutality and stand in solidarity with protests that have been happening nightly in Portland. The protest remained peaceful most of the afternoon until the group reached the King County Youth Service Center near 12th Avenue and Alder Street.

Seattle police said about a dozen people entered a construction site at the center and set fire to portable trailers and other equipment, and broke windows on personal vehicles in the area and court facilities. 

The group continued to march toward the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct, damaging businesses along the way, including breaking nearly all the windows at the Starbucks on 12th Avenue and E Columbia Street. 

Seattle police said several people emerged from the group and started spray-painting and trying to disable the security cameras at the East Precinct at 12th Avenue and East Pine Street. At least one person breached the fencing and threw an explosive device that left an eight-inch hole in the side of the precinct. 

Credit: Seattle Police Department
A hole in the wall of the Seattle Police Department's East Precinct where protesters allegedly threw an explosive device, July 25, 2020.

Police declared the protest a riot shortly after the damage to the East Precinct and ordered everyone to disperse. 

Police deployed OC spray, blast balls and pepper spray to try and get the crowd out of the area near where weeks earlier people had set up the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) zone that stretched several blocks. Police said they did not deploy CS (tear) gas. 

RELATED: Real-time updates: Group of protesters remain in standoff with police on Capitol Hill

Authorities said rocks, bottles and fireworks were thrown at officers. Twenty-one officers were injured by items thrown at them, and one had to be taken to the hospital for a knee injury, police said. 

Police said as of 10 p.m. they arrested 45 people for assaulting officers, obstruction and failing to disperse.

Below is a photo of the fireworks that were being thrown at officers, police said.

Credit: Seattle Police Department
Seattle police tweeted a photo of fireworks they say were being thrown at officers during demonstrations Saturday, July 25, 2020.

During the protests, there did not appear to be any federal agents that intervened. The federal agents arrived in Seattle Thursday evening and have been on standby to protect federal buildings in the city should it be necessary. 

Watch aerials of the protests from KING 5 here.

RELATED: Seattle leaders express concern about federal agents on standby amid planned weekend protests