Occupy Seattle, sprung from perch, protests Romney

Seattle police forced demonstrators from their base station today to make room for a union rally

Topics: Occupy Wall Street, Seattle,

Seattle police have finally forced Occupy Seattle protesters to leave their base of operations in the city’s Westlake Park after nearly two weeks at the location. The move came on the heels of several days of posturing, during which time Mayor Mike McGinn repeatedly threatened arrests — camping is illegal in Westlake Park — while encouraging the group to move to City Hall.

According to Seattle’s KING-TV:

About 10 police officers arrived at Westlake around 9:30 a.m.  Officers told about 75 demonstrators who had spent the night that the city was enforcing the no-camping rule at the park “starting right now.”

Some of the protesters packed up their possessions and moved out, while others simply relocated across the street.

Another group of Westlake protesters decamped to the Seattle Grand Hyatt, where Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney was hosting a fundraiser. According to the News Tribune:

About 50 protesters made the walk of a few blocks from Westlake Park to the downtown hotel where the former Massachusetts governor was holding a private fundraiser Thursday. They carried signs that said, “This is class warfare,” “Make Wall Street pay,” and “Romney is the 1 percent.”

At least four demonstrators were reportedly arrested last night, though none were taken into custody this morning as a result of the eviction. That doesn’t, however, mean that Occupy Seattle is taking the move sitting down. The group had previously insisted that it would not relocate to City Hall but would remain in Westlake Park indefinitely. Now that they’ve been removed, organizers are already planning on taking back the grounds.

A Facebook event posted earlier today, called “Night of 500 Tents,” hopes to launch another “mass occupation of Westlake Park with tents,” on Saturday.

Peter Finocchiaro is a senior editor at Salon. Follow him on Twitter @PLFino.

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