SEATTLE – As crews readied Westlake Park Wednesday for the post-Thanksgiving festivities, Seattle police continued planning for the Black Friday protests.
Police said there will be increased staffing at shopping malls across the city and at Westlake. The department is also adding a new tactic to crowd safety – parked buses.
Assistant Chief Chris Fowler said they will park buses and armored vehicles near Westlake to thwart a possible terrorist attack like the one in New York City on Halloween. Eight people were killed and and dozens hurt in that attack.
“Nationally and internationally we’ve seen an evolution of the threat to individuals by using vehicles to disrupt crowds to attack crowds and then they get out and oftentimes they have weapons,” Fowler said.
Buses were used as barriers during a protest against US Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in Bellevue last month. Police wouldn’t say where the vehicles would be parked downtown Friday.
Police said they’ve been monitoring social media sites and online chatter for information about the protests. City officials say no one has sought permits for the protests.
Fowler said they’re anticipating one large protest to kick off around noon and a second, smaller one, to begin shortly after.
“At the noon time frame there’s one larger protest and by that I can’t say how many people will be there,” Fowler said.