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Arrests made after homeless activists try to occupy Olympia hotel

Police said they arrested 10 people in Olympia after a group that advocates for the homeless tried to occupy a hotel, prompting guests and staffers to shelter in place for several hours.

Olympia Police Lt. Paul Lower said employees of the Red Lion Inn & Suites, began calling for help at 11 a.m. Sunday after several people, one of whom was wielding a hatchet while others brandished batons and knives, entered the facility.

KOMO reports one hotel worker who tried to stop the occupation was hurt, although the nature of the victim’s injuries was not immediately disclosed.

City officials said in statement that the incident was carried out by 45 members of a group called Oly Housing Now, and as many as eight were detained while three were said to be facing felony charges in connection with the incident.

“Olympia has led on responding to homelessness, on coordinating shelter and other basic needs,” Mayor Cheryl Selby said. “The tactics used today by Oly Housing Now are unproductive and won’t make the mission more attainable.”

Lower said several law enforcement officers, including the SWAT team, the Thurston County Sheriff’s Department and the Washington State Patrol, responded to the facility.

Authorities said before the occupation, Oly Housing Now had paid for 17 rooms in order to provide shelter for people.