Blast balls, pepper spray: Protesters, police clash in downtown Seattle

Police and protesters clash at Second Avenue and Pine Street. (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE - Police and a small group of counter-protesters clashed in downtown Seattle on Sunday.

The counter-protesters carrying signs opposing hate and the KKK marched on Westlake Park on Sunday to meet a smaller group at a pro-Trump "Freedom Rally." Most were peaceful, police said.

A small number of the counter-protesters were dressed black, and some were carrying pieces of wood and other potential weapons. Police responded with lines of bicycle officers, pepper spray and blast balls. Police made three arrests.

A 40-year-old man was arrested for obstruction, and a 37-year-old man and a 25-year-old man were arrested for assault, police said.

No serious injuries were reported.

The demonstrations came a day after protests in Charlottesville, Va., turned deadly.

Police said a few protesters tried to get around traffic-control lines by running down an alley between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. They tried to use a makeshift shield to get by bicycle officers, and police responded with pepper spray, police said.

Bicycle officers were restricting the movement of protesters, and that created confrontations.

Protesters again tried to get by police at Fourth Avenue and Lenora Street. Police said officers again used pepper spray.

Police were trying to stop the marchers at Second Avenue and Pine Street.

Protesters chanted at police, "Who do you protect? Who do you serve?"

Police said someone in the crowd threw fireworks at police.

Officers used pepper spray and deployed blast balls. Then issued a dispersal order to protesters there.

"Whose street? Our street," protesters chanted. "The cops and the Klan work hand in hand."

Seattle Councilman Mike O'Brien was with those protesters and among those stopped. The Associated Press reported that O'Brien says he texted Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole in the middle of the march and she told him demonstrators would not be allowed to proceed to Westlake Park.

Police said officers had confiscated several weapons, including boards and metal bars. Police said some protesters were also carrying balloons filled with an unknown liquid.

Many of the protesters then returned to Denny Park, where the "Solidarity Against Hate" began in early afternoon. Police said some protesters were throwing items at police who were providing traffic control.

The group says it was counter-protesting an event called the "Freedom Rally".

Even though the marchers were kept away, there were plenty of other people there to oppose the "Freedom Rally."

Police put up barricades to separate the groups at Westlake.

At Westlake, there was an open mike, and dissenting views were being offered.

The people outside the barricades outnumbered those in the park.

Angry words and shouts were being exchanged across the barricades as police tried to keep the groupds apart.

By late afternoon, the pro-Trump protesters began filing out between two lines of Seattle police officers.

By 5 p.m., the crows at Westlake Park began to thin out.

Some protesters went to Pacific Place, but police also followed. The shopping center was later locked, and shoppers were allowed to leave.

The Freedom Rally begian at Westlake Park in downtown around 2 p.m.

The rally is hosted by a group called Patriot Prayer. At least 200 people indicated they would attend on the group's Facebook page.

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