- Protesters occupy Sixth Avenue outside the Sheraton Hotel.
Original post begins at 5:15 PM: More than 250 protesters have now amassed in Westlake Park downtown for a protest of JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon tonight, who is speaking at the Sheraton Hotel, following an arrest-and-pepper-spray clash between cops and protesters at Chase Bank on Capitol Hill this afternoon. Goldy reports that the crowd is jamming out to DJs, making protest signs, and soaking scarves in vinegar to counter an another pepper spray conflict with cops. Barricades are set up around the Sheraton Hotel a couple blocks east.
Goldy asks what will happen next: Are police prepared to arrest all these people? Or do they intend to pen them in somehow? Stay tuned.
UPDATE at 6:10 PM: Protester are marching into oncoming traffic up Pine Street as they attempt to block access to the Sheraton, bringing cars to a standstill at rush hour, Goldy reports. There are more than 300 people marching through the rain chanting the classic Occupy chant: "We got sold out, banks got bailed out." Protesters announced before they left that the plan was to surround the Sheraton and link arms in two rows, but Goldy says he "isn't sure if that’s possible, but we will see how police respond when they attempt to do it."
UPDATE at 6:23 PM: Goldy calls with another update: Sixth Avenue is closed off between Union Street and Pike Street because protesters have spilled out into the street, largely thanks to the fact that barricades are blocking access to the sidewalk. Cops aren't letting poeple in, of course. Hilariously, the ballroom upstairs has a direct view down onto Sixth Avenue. Goldy says, "I don't know if Jamie Dimon is looking at the protesters, but a lot of the attendees are."
UPDATE at 6:50 PM: A team of demonstrators are inside the building and preparing an action, sources say.
UPDATE at 7:02 PM:
- The cop says this gun shoots "flowers."
Protesters have formed a human chain around the front of the Sheraton Hotel and they are preventing people from entering or leaving, Goldy reports. He's seen several hotel guests unsuccessfully attempt to enter the building but the police, on the other side of the chain and barricades, aren't doing anything to help the guests. Meanwhile, a police truck has arrived with more barricades, and it appears that police may attempt to shut down yet another block of Sixth Avenue to the south. Goldy speculates that police may "force the issue" to reopen the street.
UPDATE at 7:08 PM: Cops are getting nasty, armed with pepper spray and what appear to be rubber bullet guns. Police pushed through the human chain a few moments ago with their bicycles and began indiscriminately pepper spraying into the crowd of people, Goldy reports. Protesters are trying to clean out their eyes, including one victim who says he was standing back simply videotaping, when the cop pepper sprayed him and the surrounding demonstrators. Goldy points out that nobody was arrested—no clear law broken—but rather just a chance to pepper spray people (even those who weren't in the human chain).
Meanwhile, several dozen cops are standing on Pike Street, some of whom have rubber bullet guns. Asked what the guns shoot, one cop said it fired "flowers."
UPDATE at 7:45 PM: As rain pelts down in heavy wind, the night wears on, and regular blasts of pepper spray begin to take their toll, the crowd has thinned to about 50 people. There aren't enough people to maintain the human chain anymore, but they stand near the hotel entrance on Pike Street. When people want to leave the hotel, Goldy reports, a few police push their bikes into the crowd as barricades and then pepper spray everyone in the crowd. This has happened several times now. There's a makeshift clinic across the street where pepper spray victims are having their eyes rinsed out (it reportedly begins to help after 20 minutes). One woman at the clinic says it was "like having habanero rubbed your eyballs."