Homeless crowd invaded Bellingham City Hall while Mayor ran away and Protesters trampled American flag
Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood was frightened by a crowd of homeless people who broke into the city hall and fled surrounded by guards. At the same time, protesters tore down the American flag and trample it.
“It was unsettling,” Fleetwood said. “They banged on the door and we got word they had somehow broken it open and were entering, and I was advised to leave,” he said. Fleetwood said he was ushered out a back door and driven away from the building to his car.
#BREAKING: Protestors broke into a locked city hall in Bellingham today. Mayor had to be escorted out for safety.— Deedee Sun (@DeedeeKIRO7) January 23, 2021
They also tore down the American flag outside. Stole a KGMI journalist’s mic and threw a hot drink on him.
They’re supposed to be here advocating for the homeless. pic.twitter.com/uIMbRVRwBl
The protests and riots were prompted by the desire of local officials to clean up the homeless camp, as volunteers often complain of harassment. Several fires and an explosion of a gas cylinder were also recorded.
#UPDATE: just drove by City Hall. Protestors appear to have mostly cleared. Maybe a few hanging around.— Deedee Sun (@DeedeeKIRO7) January 23, 2021
Mayor says violence today does not help those who are experiencing homelessness in any way.
City will still work to get folks to voluntarily leave the encampment.#KIRO7 pic.twitter.com/Nzvcqkimv4
KGMI radio journalist Joe Teehan reported several attacks.
“There were shouts of, ‘He’s taking unauthorized photos, he’s invading privacy.’ Pretty soon I was surrounded by a fairly good number of people,” Teehan said. “They started grabbing at my equipment, and I started to back away and one person grabbed my mic and I lost that in the crowd. They were grabbing at my iPad and trying to get that.”
The city hall itself was invaded by about 20 people. The authorities have not yet reported the damage. Information about the arrests was also not released.