Elderly Woman, Priest Pepper-Sprayed During Occupy Protest
An elderly woman, a pregnant woman and a priest were among those who were pepper-sprayed during a protest in support of the Occupy movement on Tuesday.
The demonstrators taking part in the Occupy Seattle movement marched from their current camp at Seattle Central Community College to Westlake Park late Tuesday afternoon.
While en route, they came across police officers at several points. At the intersection of Fifth and Pine, the crowd was met by a line of several dozen police officers on bicycles who blocked the way.
Tensions mounted until police deployed pepper spray in an attempt to disperse the crowd and get the protesters out of the streets. About a dozen people were hit with the stinging fume.
"Pepper spray was deployed only against subjects who were either refusing a lawful order to disperse or engaging in assaultive behavior toward officers," said Seattle police spokesman Jeff Kappel.
Police said six people were arrested during the march. A 17-year-old girl was pepper-sprayed then arrested after allegedly swinging a stick at an officer. Three others - a 17-year-old boy, a man and a women - were arrested for suspected pedestrian interference. A man was arrested after he allegedly threw an unknown liquid at an officer's face, and another man was arrested for alleged assault.
By 7:30 p.m., the protesters were back at their camp at Seattle Central Community College.
The local protesters were marching in support of the Occupy Wall Street protesters who were kicked out of their camp at Zucotti Park in New York and a judge ruled that their free speech rights do not extend to pitching a tent and setting up camp for months at a time.
The protesters have been camped out in the privately owned park since mid-September. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he ordered the sweep because health and safety conditions had become "intolerable" in the crowded plaza.
On Monday, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved a resolution in support of the growing Occupy movement.
Introduced by council member Nick Licata,Resolution 31337 recognizes and supports the peaceful and lawful exercise of the citizens' First Amendment right to free speech. The resolution also commits the council to a number of actions to ensure fair lending and taxation.
The nationwide movement had spread across the nation and even reached the small town of Forks, Wash. Seventeen people stood outside the Bank of America branch in the pouring rain on Saturday, said Peninsula Daily News, a news partner of KOMO News. A second Occupy Forks rally is scheduled to be held at the same location next month.