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January 19, 2015 at 3:16 PM

19 arrested in ‘black lives matter’ protest on Highway 99

Seattle Police officers saw apart tubing connecting protesters on NB 99. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson / The Seattle Times)

Seattle police officers cut apart tubing connecting protesters on Aurora Avenue North. (Lindsey Wasson / The Seattle Times)

 Update, 6:42 p.m.:

The Seattle Police Department says it arrested 19 people in a protest Monday against police brutality that shut down Aurora Avenue North in the South Lake Union neighborhood and sent one officer to the hospital.

Police say one demonstrator assaulted an officer, who was taken to Harborview Medical Center for treatment. The officer was discharged from the hospital by Monday evening.

Police had to saw through pipes locking demonstrators’ arms together on northbound Highway 99, north of Mercer Street,  before an approximately two-hour closure starting at Thomas Street could end at around 4:30 p.m. A group of at least 50 people on the roadside sang songs about freedom and justice for Michael Brown, an unarmed black man whose death in a Ferguson, Mo., police shooting has sparked a national movement.  Several drivers on Mercer Street and southbound Highway 99 honked in support of demonstrators who waved signs reading “Black Lives Matter.”

Traffic on southbound Highway 99 was temporarily blocked as well.

Demonstrators said they were not part of any particular organization, but were protesting police brutality and excessive force through civil disobedience.

A statement handed out at the demonstration said “… to those those whose days are inconvenienced by our brief presence here, we remind you that the combination of anti-Black police brutality, disproportionate disciplining of Black youth by Seattle Public Schools, and rampant gentrification of historically Black neighborhoods has also been disruptive to Black communities in Seattle. Until Seattle and its police department stop brutalizing Black and Brown lives, allies will continue to engage in civil disobedience, and we will stand vocally and visibly in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.”

Update, 4:26 p.m.:

Northbound Aurora has reopened to traffic, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation, and the I-5 on- and off-ramps are open, according to the state transportation department.

Update, 4:15 p.m.:

The Seattle Department of Transportation reported that both ramps off I-5 at Mercer are closed.

Update, 4:02 p.m.:

Southbound Aurora was also blocked for a time, but it is again open to traffic.

Update, 3:54 p.m.:

Aurora Avenue North is closed in the South Lake Union area, as police try to clear out protesters. Seattle police, in making arrests, have had to saw away at the tubes the demonstrators used to link themselves together.

Original post:

Traffic is at a standstill on northbound Highway 99, north of Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood.

Protesters carrying signs such as “black lives matter” and “end racial profiling” walked onto Aurora Avenue North in the last hour, lying down in the street, north of Mercer Street. As of about 3 p.m., police were at the scene.

With reports from the Associated Press

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