On Tuesday beneath the Spokane Street viaduct, two Neighborhood Action Coaliton (NAC) activists chose to be arrested in protest against Seattle’s rolling mass evictions of homeless campers.
As we previously reported, the sweep of Spokane Street viaduct (in SoDo, just east of the West Seattle Bridge) has been ongoing for months. In April,city workers evicted vehicle campers in cars and RVs from the same location. Authorities then proceeded to continue chasing them around Seattle. Campers sleeping in tents or improvised structures, rather than vehicles, got a respite until their own eviction began on Tuesday, September 12. The eviction continued through Friday.
From a NAC press release:
“When police arrived Tuesday, they set up a barricade. When asked to move, the NAC members said they would not because they were there to be with their homeless neighbors who had invited them. One man living in the encampment stood nearby and told police that he in fact wanted the NAC members there, and urged police to let them stay.”
Shortly later, the release says, police arrested two women who refused to move. One of them, organizer Eliana Scott-Thoennes, said this in the release:
“There comes a point where one has to say ‘no.’ No, I will not walk away from neighbors. No, I will not turn my head as we waste our city’s energy and resources on failed solutions that are causing needless harm. No, I will not accept the assertion that it is dangerous for me to stay to help people pack, to offer a friendly word, to stand by their side as they are being displaced. And when I see our officials criminalizing that peaceful, non-obstructive solidarity, I will resist.”
This post has been edited to correct the day of the arrests. An earlier version inaccurately stated authorities did not offer shelter or assistance during the vehicle evictions in April.