Schell commends police response

Associated Press

SEATTLE — The Seattle police response to a weekend demonstration by self-proclaimed anarchists was exactly the way Mayor Paul Schell wanted it: efficient and authoritative.

Police arrested 18 people at downtown Westlake Center late Saturday for investigation of assault, property damage and malicious mischief, said police spokesman Scott Moss.

Windows were smashed at the nearby Gap and Banana Republic stores, but no injuries were reported.

Some police officers wore riot gear and used pepper spray to subdue members of a crowd Moss estimated at about 200 people.

"Seattle police sent a strong and clear message that we’re not going to tolerate these kinds of actions on our streets," Schell said in a telephone interview afterward.

"These sorts of events have worse outcomes in other cities. The streets belong to everybody in this city, and people need to act within the law or there will be consequences."

The protesters were challenging commuters and consumers — people they claim have taken over the city. Clashes began when police ordered protesters to stay on the sidewalks and not go in the streets.

A group called the Committee for Government Accountability issued a news release Sunday that complained of "unwarranted arrests and harassment."

Police learned about the planned protest on an anarchist group’s Web site, Moss said.

"They posted stuff saying they would raise hell, cause property damage, and they made mention of setting fires and all sorts of stuff. We did not want this to get out of control. We didn’t allow it to get too out of hand."

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