SEATTLE – Seattle police retreated to a precinct early Sunday, hours after declaring a riot during large demonstrations in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood near where weeks earlier, people set up an “occupied protest zone” stretching for several blocks.
Some demonstrators lingered after officers filed into the department’s East Precinct around 1 a.m., but most cleared out a short time later, according to video posted online.
Authorities said rocks, bottles, fireworks and mortars were thrown at officers as they attempted to clear the area using flash bangs and pepper spray over the course of several hours stretching into Saturday night.
Seattle police Chief Carmen Best called for peace at a late-night news conference and told reporters she hadn’t seen U.S. agents the Trump administration dispatched to the city at Saturday’s protest.
Via Twitter, police said they arrested at least 45 people for assaults on officers, obstruction and failure to disperse. Twenty-one officers were left with mostly minor injuries. Protesters also broke through a fence where a youth detention facility was being built. Some people set a fire and damaging a portable trailer, authorities said.
Thousands of protesters had initially gathered peacefully near downtown in a show of solidarity with fellow demonstrators in Portland, where tensions with federal law enforcement have boiled over during protests stemming from the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Initially there was no sign of law enforcement near the Seattle march. Later, Seattle Police said via Twitter that about a dozen people breached the construction site for the King County youth detention facility. Police said protesters broke out windows at a King County court facility.
Last week King County Executive Dow Constantine said he would work to eliminate youth detention centers in the county by 2025.
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