SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle police turned out in force early Wednesday at the city’s “occupied” protest zone, tore down demonstrators’ encampments and used bicycles to herd the protesters after the mayor ordered the area cleared following two fatal shootings in less than two weeks.
Television images showed police, many in riot gear, confronting dozens of protesters at the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” zone that was set up near downtown following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Wearing helmets and wielding batons and rifles, officers converged on the area at dawn. Officers stood shoulder-to-shoulder on several streets while others created a makeshift fence with their bicycles, using it to push protesters back away from the center of the zone.
As residents of the neighborhood near the city’s downtown watched from balconies, police cleared out the protesters’ tents from a park within the zone and made sure no one was left in the park’s bathrooms. At one point, a loud bang was heard in the park, followed by a cloud of smoke.
One protest organizer, Derrek Allen Jones II, said some demonstrators attempted to stay put but were surprised by the early intervention by officers who were “trampling everything I seen in sight, flipping tables.”