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Seattle police arrest woman for sitting down with umbrella

Peter Finocchiaro
Salon [1]
October 18, 2011

Umbrellas, of all things, have been a central point of contention between Seattle police and protesters since the city’s OWS-inspired demonstrations started earlier this month.

Authorities in Westlake Park — where Occupy Seattle has taken up residence — first restricted [2] use of umbrellas about a week and a half ago. Protesters were told that they were not allowed to sit down with the rain gear, as it would then constitute a “structure” like a tent or tarp, which are proscribed under the park’s anti-camping rule.

Today, that rule has resulted in an arrest. A woman was taken into custody by a group of police for resting on the ground underneath her umbrella. The Seattle Stranger [3] reported on the incident, saying:

Moments ago, 40 police officers surrounded a woman for herostensibly illegal occupation of Westlake Park.

[…] Dozens of other protester are in the park, but they’re standing. Not this woman, who was sitting with her umbrella upright and purple sleeping bag and a purple yoga mat next to her. She refused to budge. One protester offered her a cigarette, so she smoked it calmly as police closed in tighter. [Emphasis from the Stranger’s post]