A large demonstration in downtown Seattle on July 19 devolved into a riot, with the group causing significant damage to government buildings and private businesses.
At one point, the crowd broke windows at the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct, where officers recently returned, after it was vacant for weeks while the area was held by far-left activists and others. City officials cleared the so-called autonomous zone on July 1.
Rioters “were responsible for a significant amount of property damage,” the department said. Two people were arrested, and at least two dozen officers were injured.
While the gathering began peacefully at 10:30 a.m., it descended into violence about three hours later. The department blamed a second group, which it said joined the gathering carrying baseball bats.
The mob broke windows and sprayed graffiti as they moved south on Fifth Avenue, eventually vandalizing the Seattle Police Department headquarters and Seattle Municipal Court. Violent demonstrators then marched north on Third Avenue, smashing windows, looting, and spraying more graffiti. When they arrived at the department’s West Precinct, they tried breaking in.
“Protesters threw rocks and bottles at the officers who were outside defending the precinct. An unknown person or persons threw multiple large mortar-type fireworks at officers from a close range,” the department said in a statement.
Multiple officers were injured, including one who sustained burns to his neck.
Because of the assault on officers, police deployed “blast balls” and pepper spray. They also arrested two people, one for assault and one for theft.
Rioters then marched to Capitol Hill, where the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) was broken up on July 1 after the lawless zone saw several shootings. The group damaged more property and continued looting. A small fire that was set inside one of the businesses was extinguished.
When the group arrived outside the East Precinct, people smashed out its front windows and launched a large, mortar-type firework inside the lobby, starting a fire.
The mob made its way to Cal Anderson Park and eventually broke up.
Police said that certain individuals in the group “appeared to be very organized, and this appeared to be a very concerted effort at property damage of certain businesses and government facilities.”
According to video footage from the march, the businesses broken into included a Starbucks and a Walgreens.
The group also smashed windows at multiple Amazon stores.
A spokeswoman for Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office said in a statement to The Epoch Times that “many people protested peacefully” in the initial gathering.
“Unfortunately, this protest was followed with fewer individuals who were intent on destruction—this led to damage downtown and Capitol Hill and the injury of multiple officers. These destructive acts do nothing to advance justice,” the spokeswoman said in an email.
The mayor, a Democrat, is in close contact with Police Chief Carmen Best, and police officers are investigating the crimes and will hold the people responsible accountable, Durkan’s office said.