Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Two Arrests At Westlake, Police Appear To Have Backed Down For Now

The #OccupyWallStreet movement reached a fever pitch tonight in Seattle, as an increased presence at Westlake due to an influx of Seattle Central, University of Washington, and other students swelled the crowd to over 500 during the day's events and speeches.

Over the past week campus organizers affiliated with Occupy Seattle, the Socialist Alternative and other political organizations pooled their efforts to coordinate a city-wide school walkout, with participants not just from colleges but Nathan Hill high school joining in this populist movement attempting represent the interests of the 99% of Americans disenfranchised by economic collapse.

Students cheered and chanted slogans as they marched from Seattle Central down to Westlake Park, an enthusiasm that ran high well into the night as debate erupted whether or not the protest should stay in Westlake.

Mayor McGinn's office, while stating its support for the protest, had previously encouraged demonstrators to decamp from Westlake and move to City Hall.  While some supported this action, the gathering's General Assembly, buoyed by sentiments derived from student enthusiasm earlier in the day, rejected the Mayor's offer and decided to camp in Westlake indefinitely.

At 10:00 PM last night, the Seattle Police Department closed the Westlake Transit Station in order, as reported by citizen journalists on-scene, to prevent protesters from using the buses.  By 11:20 PM, the tunnel was announced reopened by Sound Transit via e-mail.

At approximately 10:20, two confirmed arrests had been reported, one notably being a man who erected a tent in the plaza in celebration of Sukkot.  By 11:00 PM, the police had apparently left the scene entirely once they were certain that people were merely gathered, not camping.

I will continue to have updates on OneAngryQueer and on the New City Collegian, Seattle Central's online student publication.

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