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Tree Lighting Ceremony Shares the Stage with Downtown Protests

Police arrested five people during a sometimes violent demonstration, culminating in the lighting of the Westlake Center holiday tree during a wet and windy Black Friday in downtown Seattle.

Seattle Police were busy this afternoon managing downtown holiday festivities and providing public safety services to a planned demonstration around 1 p.m. today.

Demonstrators gathered in the street blocking traffic at 5th and Union before marching to Westlake Park. Some demonstrators temporarily blocked the Westlake entrance to the bus tunnel. Others marched to Pacific Place Mall and briefly chained the front doors shut. Officers quickly moved in and cut the chain with bolt cutters. During this disturbance, a 27-year-old man kicked at an officer’s bicycle, damaging the spokes. Police promptly arrested him.

The march continued east on Pine Street to Broadway. The demonstration remained there for over an hour blocking the intersection while officers provided traffic control. The group headed back downtown around 3:45 p.m.

Demonstrators again clashed with police at Boren and Pike, using pepper spray on officers and throwing at least one bottle. Police responded by using several Blast Balls and Sting Balls, less lethal dispersal devices, to move the crowd. Blast Balls emit smoke while Sting Balls emit pepper spray.

A 16-year-old youth pushed an officer and police arrested him for obstruction.

Some protesters moved to Boren and Pine where they jabbed officers with umbrellas and threw a large firework at them (pictured below). Police arrested two men and a woman, ages 22, 24 and 30 respectively, for assaulting officers.

The protest moved to 5th and Pine and began to filter into Westlake Park.  Some demonstrators in Westlake Park indiscriminately launched fireworks into the crowd gathered for the tree lighting ceremony. Fortunately no one was hurt.

The demonstrators moved into Westlake Mall and continued to protest there. Meanwhile, those gathered in Westlake Park enjoyed a Pacific Northwest tradition – the lighting ceremony for the Westlake Center holiday tree and the Macy’s star.

With these holiday events complete, demonstrators moved out of Westlake Mall and into Westlake Park and gradually dispersed, concluding the protest.

Police booked the four adults into King County Jail and released the youth to a parent.


Photo courtesy of @hello_amanda

Police and protesters at Boren and Pine. Photo courtesy of @hello_amanda

Umbrellas used to assault officers at Pike and Boren.

Umbrellas used to assault officers at Boren and Pine.

A large firework thrown at officers at Pike and Boren.

A large firework thrown at officers at Boren and Pine.