Mayor's office spokesman Aaron Pickus said about an hour ago that cops wouldn't bug protesters at Westlake Park tonight as long as they didn't have a "structure." But other than that, things were hunky-dorey.
Cut to right now.
Seattle Police block space underneath awnings at Westlake Park
Police are aggressively clearing people out of the park. Cops are telling people they can't stand underneath the awnings, can't wrap themselves in a tarp, and can't even sit down with an umbrella. "You can't have an umbrella open unless you're standing and holding it," a cop reportedly just told a few people who were sitting down next to their umbrellas. Paul Contant, intrepid reporter, just called to confirm that person's account. And he added, "The cops are lined up under the awnings—I tried to get under an awning to type and and they told me I cannot be under the awning at all." Police are also telling people they can't lay under a tarp.
"It's as aggressive as we've seen since Wednesday," Paul says.
Cops are trying to push out Occupy Seattle by any means necessary, it appears. Lt. Nollette told Paul this was a "a collaborative effort from the mayor's office, city attorney's office, and the police department." However, City Attorney Pete Holmes says his office worked with the city to establish a trespass admonishment program several months ago, but, on this action, "we are not making the call." So it appears the mayor is making the call. Speaking for McGinn, Pickus's only comment is that the city just posted these new rules for Westlake Park, which bans "structures."
So according to McGinn, umbrellas are "structures." An umbrella is a jailable offense if you're sitting down with it. Umbrellas are Seattle's top priority for law enforcement.