Seattle police arrest woman for sitting down with umbrella

The city's much-criticized restriction on the rain gear resulted in an arrest this morning

Topics: Occupy Wall Street, Seattle,

Umbrellas, of all things, have been a central point of contention between Seattle police and protesters since the city’s OWS-inspired demonstrations started earlier this month.

Authorities in Westlake Park — where Occupy Seattle has taken up residence — first restricted use of umbrellas about a week and a half ago. Protesters were told that they were not allowed to sit down with the rain gear, as it would then constitute a “structure” like a tent or tarp, which are proscribed under the park’s anti-camping rule.



Today, that rule has resulted in an arrest. A woman was taken into custody by a group of police for resting on the ground underneath her umbrella. The Seattle Stranger reported on the incident, saying:

Moments ago, 40 police officers surrounded a woman for her ostensibly illegal occupation of Westlake Park.

[...] Dozens of other protester are in the park, but they’re standing. Not this woman, who was sitting with her umbrella upright and purple sleeping bag and a purple yoga mat next to her. She refused to budge. One protester offered her a cigarette, so she smoked it calmly as police closed in tighter. [Emphasis from the Stranger's post]

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

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