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Protests in Seattle, Portland quickly dispersed amid tight presidential race

Last Updated Nov 4, 2020 at 8:37 am EST

Police descended on the streets of Seattle as marches began shortly after polls closed in Washington state. (Peter Wagner, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Joe Biden won Oregon and Washington handily, however, protests began almost immediately after the polls closed

Seattle and Portland had been preparing for civil unrest in the lead up to Tuesday's presidential election

Several people were arrested

SEATTLE (NEWS 1130) — Protesters were quickly dispersed after taking to the streets of Seattle and Portland Tuesday night just shortly after polls closed in Washington state.

Hundreds of people began marching in both cities, where Black Lives Matter banners were being waved and chants were heard, just moments after results started to be reported.

As was the case elsewhere in the U.S., hundreds of businesses in Seattle and Portland boarded up their windows and doors ahead of the election. Both cities had been preparing for protests in the lead up to to Tuesday night, fearing the vote could lead to the sort of violence seen at large demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism over the past several months following the killing of George Floyd in May.

NEWS 1130’s Peter Wagner reported a heavy police presence in the Capitol Hill area of Seattle around 9 p.m. Tuesday.

“This is an extremely volatile situation here,” he said. “Many unmarked cars, many tactical units are here, lots of [Seattle Police Department officers] on bikes telling people they have to disperse, they have to move.”

A line of police officers slowly pushed back at the group of protesters, making it difficult for demonstrators to get past. Some vehicles also appeared to be part of the march, and at one point, a police officer was seen smashing the window of a truck.

Police said they arrested several people, including someone who put nails in a road and another who drove over a barricade and into a police bike lane. No one was injured.

Seattle police provided updates live on Twitter, saying “multiple public safety warnings” had been issued at one point.

Earlier in the day, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said she knows people have questions about what could happen in the city on Election Day and the days following.

“In one of the most challenging years in our city’s history, we have a president that has consistently incited hate, fear, and violence,” Durkan said. “This is why my office has been closely co-ordinating with the Governor, County Executive, and City departments for a safe and secure Election Day and planning for the days that follow.”

Meantime, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown had the National Guard on standby as the state’s largest city has seen near-nightly protests for six months.

Hundreds of people were marching through Portland Tuesday evening, chanting among, other things, “This is what democracy looks like.”

Organizers said the demonstration would be peaceful, and that regardless of the presidential election result, they would continue demonstrating in support of racial justice, KPTV reported.

They began shortly after initial results were reported in Washington state Oregon, where a democratic victory was never really in question. Within minutes of polls closing Tuesday, Joe Biden was declared the winner in both.