Seattle, WA, 12/4/2011
**Names and Phone Numbers Redacted***
Reclaimed Community Center Evicted by SWAT Team; 16 Arrested
On December 3rd, around 4 a.m., sixteen participants of Occupy Seattle were arrested in a former community center at 10th and Union during an action to reclaim public space.
As the participants planned the future of the space, SWAT and other SPD forces entered the building to forcibly remove them. Everyone present was arrested and held for criminal trespass; six people were arrested and held for obstruction of justice. Journalists present were barred from entering the block.
Earlier the same day, Frank La Rue, the United Nations special rapporteur for the protection of free expression, announced that the U.N. was drafting a document which criticized the U.S. government for severe and ongoing violations of Occupy demonstrators’ human and
In the face of the recent slew of closures and cuts to libraries, community centers, and other public spaces, participants sought to restore the warehouse, formerly the Union Cultural Center, to its use as a “supportive educational space for teaching, sharing and creating vibrant culture,” in the words of the UCC mission statement. Similar actions in Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Boston suggest a new direction for the Occupy movement.
After entering the building at 6:30 p.m., hundreds of people from the neighborhood and Occupy Seattle immediately began cleaning and organizing the space. Lights were strung, bands and DJs played a free concert, people were fed, and a large general assembly discussed how to utilize the 36,000 square feet. Plans included supporting homeless people, opening a community art space, and providing free childcare and resources for drug and alcohol addiction and mental illness. The assembly reached consensus to maintain the space as a strictly drug and alcohol free zone.
The warehouse, scheduled to be demolished in two weeks, will be the site for six-story luxury apartments, part of larger development plans for E Union Street which have already received widespread criticism from neighborhood residents.
Arrestees available for interviews.