Leftist Militants Storm Hotel, Seize Control With Hatchets and Batons, Forcing Guests to Shelter In Place

OLYMPIA, WA – The Olympia Police Department last night cleared out a group of leftist militants equipped with hatchets and batons, wearing helmets and gas masks.  The group stormed the hotel and seized it, forcing hotel workers to lock themselves in closets and empty rooms.

The group said they seized control of the Red Lion Inn in Olympia to promote housing for the homeless.  When police moved in, they were harassed by supporters of the group which claims ties to ANTIFA. After taking over the building, the group made a demand to the city of Olympia to provide housing for the homeless.

The Olympia Police Department cleared the Downtown Olympia Red Lion Hotel after it was forcibly occupied by a group identified as Oly Housing Now, a homeless activist group. Employees of the hotel have been safely escorted out of the occupied hotel after sheltering in the basement through the afternoon and part of the evening, the town said in a statement.

“At about 11 a.m. today, people inside the Red Lion began calling 911 to report a group was attempting to forcibly take over the hotel. OPD received reports that the employees felt under threat from the group, and that an employee was allegedly assaulted,” the Olympia police department said. “Employees reported that some members of the activist group inside the hotel were armed with items such as hatchets, batons, knives and had gasmasks, helmets and goggles apparently in preparation for a confrontation. OPD estimated about 45 members of the group inside and outside of the hotel.”

At the time of the occupation, approximately 40 rooms in the hotel were booked with guests who were bystanders to the incident. Those guests sheltered in their rooms during the occupation, and OPD is providing a safe place for them as the hotel is cleared.

Before the occupation, the activist group had earlier reserved 17 rooms, which were occupied by currently unhoused individuals as the occupation occurred. As OPD clears the hotel, the City’s Crisis Response Unit is connecting those unhoused people to services.

“They will not be allowed to remain at the hotel, “the city said.

OPD does anticipate there will be some arrests associated with the occupation. The investigation is ongoing. OPD is being supported in their efforts to reclaim the hotel by the Thurston County Sherriff’s Department and the Washington State Patrol.

“Making sure our unhoused residents have access to safe and affordable housing has been Olympia’s priority for more than a decade,” said Mayor Cheryl Selby. “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.”