What are the details?
Those inside the Red Lion hotel began calling 911 around 11 a.m., saying a group was attempting to forcibly take over the hotel, the city's statement said. Police were told that the employees felt threatened by the group and that an employee allegedly was assaulted.
The group was identified as Oly Housing Now, a homeless activist group, and its members had gas masks, helmets, and goggles, apparently in preparation for a confrontation, the statement noted. Police estimated about 45 members of the group were inside and outside the hotel.
At the time of the occupation, approximately 40 hotel rooms were booked with bystanders — and those guests sheltered in their rooms during the occupation, the statement said. Hotel employees sheltered in the basement through the afternoon and part of the evening.
But before the occupation, the group had reserved 17 rooms occupied by homeless people. The group had occupied the 4th and 5th floors and were placing black tarps on the windows as police arrived, cops told KING-TV.
Police added to the station that a Thurston County judge granted a search warrant for first-degree burglary, trespassing, and conspiracy to commit burglary. By 6:30 p.m., Olympia police with the Thurston County Sheriff's Office and Washington State Patrol's SWAT team entered the hotel and began making arrests, KING reported.
Image source: KING-TV video screenshot
As of Sunday night, 12 people had been arrested, the station said, adding that the SWAT team conducted a room-by-room search and employees and guests were escorted safely out of the building.
The city's statement noted that the homeless people in the hotel rooms were directed to social services and won't be allowed to stay at the hotel.
"Making sure our unhoused residents have access to safe and affordable housing has been Olympia's priority for more than a decade," Mayor Cheryl Selby said. "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."