New Battle Lines Drawn On CHOP, More Arrests

The CHOP is supposed to be over and done. Police swept in and cleared the area. Protestors left and that was the end of it, right? I mean, that’s what we were all told, anyway.

Well, it’s not.

I know, I know, I wrote about this already and I took them at their word that it was cleared out.

However, now things are getting heated.

There are nights of police lines and protester standoffs, explosions and pepper spray again in the core of Capitol Hill. The first night after Seattle Police and the city sweeping back in to retake the East Precinct and clear the Capitol Hill protest zone from Pike/Pine and Cal Anderson Park brought a new version of the ongoing tensions over demonstrations in the city.

The scale for now is much smaller. A crowd of dozens of protesters that began to form at Broadway and Pine’s rainbow crosswalk from the first moments after Wednesday’s early morning raid clashed with police as the overnight brought another dispersal order and then pepper spray and arrests. SPD reports another 25 people were arrested “for failure to disperse, assault, and obstructing.” The city’s ban on crowd control weapons isn’t set to take effect until later this month.

Smaller crowds also formed during the night at different points along the large perimeter police are maintaining around the precinct and park.

Other aspects of the night were familiar. The smaller crowd of dozens of protesters split at one point for the group to continue its nightly march to the West Precinct and I-5 between 520 and I-90 was also closed at one point overnight due to concerns over the demonstrators entering the freeway. UPDATE: Protesters are also said to be planning to continue nightly — and controversial — demonstrations outside Mayor Jenny Durkan’s Northeast Seattle home.

Those protesters arrested overnight join 44 taken into custody during the SPD sweep and subsequent clashes with small groups as the area from the north end of Cal Anderson and E Pine between Broadway and 12th Ave was cordoned off and lined with police Wednesday morning. City officials have said that misdemeanor arrests during the protests should not be charged by the City Attorney’s office.

This was actually taking place on Wednesday, but is getting little media coverage despite all the attention the CHOP got.

Of course, these are just spontaneous “protests,” mostly just disorganized gaggles apparently. The problem is that they lack any kind of permits, which is why they’re being arrested.

Well, that and for any other reasons law enforcement finds.

The big question is whether the CHOP will be resurrected in this new locale to such a degree, or will it just be a bit more of a garden-variety protest? Honestly, as long as they don’t try to interfere with what law enforcement might need to do, I don’t actually care. However, as we saw with the CHOP, that’s not bloody well likely.

Hopefully, this won’t amount to nearly the embarrassment the CHOP was, but with Mayor Jenny Durkan still getting protests outside her home, don’t be surprised if there’s a swift response.