The state of Washington has experienced the brunt of many destructive and sometimes violent protests over the past year.
At least seven people arrested
According to local police, the situation was said to be under control after the arrest of at least seven individuals.
The unrest began at around 11 a.m. on Sunday, when the Olympia Police Department began receiving calls from the Ted Lion Inn and Suites. Callers alerted authorities to a group of demonstrators who entered the hotel and attempted to take it over by force.
Reports indicate the mob consisted of about 45 individuals, many of whom entered the building brandishing weapons. One of the suspects was said to have been carrying a hatchet, while others were allegedly armed with batons and knives.
The suspects managed to take over the lobby and 17 rooms. During the mayhem, guests were locked in their rooms, workers sheltered in the basement, and everyone else attempted to hide wherever they could, according to reports.
A SWAT team was reportedly called to the scene and officers soon entered the property, clearing it of protesters and making several arrests. Fortunately, almost all of the employees and guests escaped without injury.
“Won’t make the mission more attainable”
At least one hotel staff member apparently put up a fight and was injured, though the severity of that injury was not immediately disclosed. Those arrested are facing criminal charges such as burglary and trespassing.
An advocacy group called Oly Housing Now reportedly spearheaded the attempted takeover. Fox News reported that the organization made reservations for one night on Saturday, then moved 33 homeless individuals into the hotel.
There were reportedly even more members of the group congregating inside and outside of the building the next day.
In conjunction with the demonstration, Oly Housing Now issued a list of demands on Twitter, focusing on government funding to house the homeless in city hotels and imposing “impact fees on luxury and commercial properties in Olympia’s downtown,” among other things.
The criminal stunt, however, appears to have turned off even some of the local leaders who might otherwise support the group’s cause. As Mayor Cheryl Selby explained in a statement: “Olympia has led on responding to homelessness, on coordinating shelter and other basic needs. The tactics used today by Oly Housing Now are unproductive and won’t make the mission more attainable.”