Brendan is on the scene at 5th & Olive where a tense standoff is blowing up into an all out confrontation between angry protesters and angry police. Pepper spray has been "liberally deployed," reports Brendan, and police are now throwing flash bang grenades into the crowd "like they are beads at Mardi Gras"—I could hear several go off near Brendan. "I would not be surprised if someone is hurt right now," says Brendan.

BANG! Flash bang grenade goes off near 5th & Olive
  • Ansel Herz | The Stranger
  • BANG! Flash bang grenade goes off near 5th & Olive

For their part, protesters are throwing fireworks back at the police, along with other debris. Brendan says he's seen a bottle of water and a rock thrown at police. Stranger news intern Ansel Herz reports seeing rocks, paint balls, flares, and glass thrown by the crowd, though he didn't see any injuries.

"Whatever it's original intent the protest became a tense standoff," says Brendan, after police attempted to arrest several protesters. Other protesters fought back, and Brendan can't be sure if the arrests were made. And one point he believes that several protesters were pinned inside a van, with police surrounding them and protesters surrounding the police. Eventually the police used a rain of flash bang grenades to break through the crowd and start forcing the protesters back up Olive.

Later, as the crowds moved on, Brendan came upon a man named Brian who was limping away, his leg bloodied, after police threw as many as three flash bang grenades at his feet. "He's quite certain that they shot him on purpose," reports Brendan. At that point Brendan disconnected after reporting police "tackling some kid."

Police arrest protester near 8th & Olive
  • Ansel Herz | The Stranger
  • Police arrest protester near 8th & Olive

Eventually, both Ansel and Brendan report that the police managed to disperse the downtown crowd by pushing them in different directions behind phalanxes of bicycles. But not before several arrests and many pepper spraying. PubliCola's Erica C. Barnett Tweets that she got a "full canister, right in the eyes." An unscathed Brendan gallantly gave her his mace first aid kit—a bandana and some Maalox—to help her clean out her eyes. Ansel reports just barely dodging a direct pepper spray hit himself (he says his face is burning a little).

I know the police claim they use pepper spray for crowd control and to facilitate arrests, but it doesn't always look that way. Ansel reports an incident in which a woman got cornered in some bushes, with an officer standing over her emptying a can of mace. The officer eventually allowed the woman to walk away outside the police lines without arrest. Hard to understand how that sort of assault is justified if the woman didn't do anything worthy of arrest?

"It's a street battle," says Ansel, "a kind of a symbolic street theater sort of thing where both sides are contesting control of the street. Usually the police have ultimate control, but the people out here tonight are trying to prove otherwise." The protesters, Ansel says, forced the police to use "substantial force." And he speculates that was their intent.

SPD now reports 11 adults and 2 juveniles arrested for assaults and property damage. One officer has reportedly been injured by a thrown object.

Smoke obscures a phalanx of bike cops as they move protesters along.
  • Ansel Herz | The Stranger
  • Smoke obscures a phalanx of bike cops as they move protesters along.

But while the downtown business district may have escaped damage, once the crowds were chased back up the street, Capitol Hill wasn't so lucky. Brendan reports two windows broken at the Walgreens at Broadway & E. Pine, as well as a window at local hangout Bill's Off Broadway: "They lost the hearts and minds of folks on Capitol Hill," says Brendan.

At last report the crowds had converged on the East Precinct at 12th & E. Pine, which Brendan says is now on "total lockdown." Stay tuned for Brendan's wrap-up later tonight.