Hundreds Fill Westlake As Occupy Seattle Protests Continue

By Erica C. Barnett October 15, 2011

Hundreds of folks flooded into Westlake Plaza today as the Occupy Seattle anti-Wall Street protests regained steam this afternoon.

The demonstrators included anarchists, anti-war activists, union members, religious activists, and teachers (best sign: "Teacher. Job Creator"). The group planned to march to Chase Bank at 3 pm and to set up tents to "take back Westlake" at 5:00 this afternoon, an action demonstrators have dubbed the "night of 500 tents."

Seattle Police Department officers are under orders from the mayor to enforce the rules at Westlake (e.g. no camping), Mayor Mike McGinn's spokesman Aaron Pickus says. However, balancing another priority (public safety), it's unlikely the cops will sweep out protesters who are just milling around the park tonight. (The park is supposed to be closed after 10 pm.) The thinking is this: Protesters playing bongos in the park and rapping about corporate power isn't much of a threat to public safety; why inflame the crowd?

If the protesters do set up tents, though, SPD is more likely to move in and make arrests as they have at previous Occupy Seattle protests.

The mayor has also made the plaza outside city hall available for camping. About 40 protesters took him up on it last night.

The crowd sings along to "We Shall Not Be Moved."

"Teacher layoffs, no thanks! Bail out schools, not the banks!"

Iraq veteran against the war, and Wall Street. 

The "supply tent" is gone, but the supplies remain.

Mayor Mike McGinn ordered police to remove tents, including a "medical supply" tent with a large propane tank, from the park last week, citing rules against camping in city parks and cooking food in parks without a permit.
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