Dozens protest in Seattle against 'wage theft'

SEATTLE -- Dozens of people gathered around Seattle's Westlake Plaza Thursday evening, protesting low wages and what they call "wage theft" against fast food workers.

At 5 p.m., the protesters spread out and blocked Pine Street at Third Avenue in front of a McDonald's restaurant. The protesters cleared about 15 minutes later, save for a handful who had locked arms in the middle of the street. Seattle police officers said the eight requested "symbolic arrests" and after giving dispersal orders, officers granted their request and then led those people away one-by-one to waiting patrol vans.

Many in the group are fast food employees and have said they were ready to get arrested to get their message out. They accuse their bosses of wage theft, through shorted paychecks and butchered break times.

"Because if we do this today, but we stop on doing it, people are not going to be aware anymore of what's going on and we're actually not going to get any help from anybody," said one protester.

Earlier Thursday, the group demonstrated outside a Subway store, and then a Taco Bell.

The employees are also asking for a minimum wage of $15 an hour, along with the right to form unions.

In a statement, police Detective Jeff Kappel says police take wage theft and employee exploitation seriously. He urged anyone affected to file police reports.