On Sunday, a group of homelessness activists who dressed up in antifa-style black bloc, armed with batons and knives, entered the lobby of the Red Lion Hotel in Olympia, Wash., demanding the hotel open rooms for homeless people. Antifa agitators allegedly assaulted an employee while other employees hid in a basement room for more than six hours. The police eventually secured the hotel, but in the skirmish, agitators chanted, “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon,” a death threat against cops.
Hotel employees first called the cops at about 11 a.m. Sunday. The staff said a “mob of people wearing black” armed with hatchets, batons, and knives had entered the lobby and demanded the hotel open rooms to them, KIRO7 reported. The antifa agitators wore gas masks, helmets, and goggles, apparently preparing for a battle.
The antifa agitators, organized with the group Oly Housing Now, occupied the hotel after advocates had booked 17 rooms and demanded that Thurston County continue to pay for the room with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding.
The Olympia Police Department (OPD) estimated about 45 antifa agitators stormed the hotel, both inside and outside the building. After staff hunkered down in the basement for hours, police finally evacuated them from the building, the city announced.
At the time of the occupation, guests had booked approximately 40 rooms. Those guests sheltered in their rooms during the occupation, and the police department secured a safe place for them as they cleared out the hotel.
As for the homeless people Oly Housing Now put in the hotel, Olympia’s Crisis Response Unit is finding them shelter. They will not be allowed to remain at the hotel.
As the police removed antifa agitators from the hotel, protesters nearby shouted death threats at them.
“Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon!” protesters chanted as police removed the occupiers.
The #antifa protesting police trying to secure a hotel in Olympia, Wash. that was sieged by their comrades shout: “Pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon.” The chant refers to killing cops.
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) February 1, 2021
“All you motherf***ing cops ought to go home and f*** your cousin, f*** your sister, f*** your wife, f*** your husband, and guess what, you just put all these people that have nowhere to go in somewhere locked up, where they shouldn’t f***ing be,” one of the protesters shouted. “I hope you all f***ing die. Rest in p*ss!”
"F— your sister, f— your wife … I hope you all f—king die. Rest in piss!"
— Andy Ngô (@MrAndyNgo) February 1, 2021
Olympia Mayor Cheryl Selby expressed support for the goal of addressing homelessness while she condemned the antifa hotel occupation.
“Making sure our unhoused residents have access to safe and affordable housing has been Olympia’s priority for more than a decade,” Selby said in a statement. “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.”
Before the antifa agitators launched the hotel occupation, Oly Housing Now released a list of demands:
- Thurston County Health Department must apply for FEMA funding and use it for COVID-19 prevention sites and non-congregate shelter for people who are 65 and older or who have preexisting health conditions.
- The City of Olympia must stop the sweeps and provide the encampments with resources to meet the COVID-19 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hygiene recommendations, including overflow sites, isolation sites, protective housing, sanitation services, hygiene materials, and 24-hour restroom facilities.
- The City of Olympia must use public first responder/public safety emergency housing in the form of hotel vouchers to support the houseless community in Olympia.
- The City of Olympia must increase impact fees on luxury and commercial properties in Olympia’s downtown.
- Thurston County and the city of Olympia must incentivize housing construction for people who meet the extremely low-income limit ($26,200 for a family of four).
While some of these extreme measures may be noble, noble goals do not justify a violent assault on a business, alleged assault against its employees, and an occupation complete with knives and blunt-force weapons. Antifa can dress this up all it wants, but attacks like this represent an act of war against a community, not activism.
Ironically, an Oly Housing Now spokeswoman, Emma Viete, claimed her group wants to help the hotel, to bring it more business.
“We’re just ready to stand our ground. We don’t mean any harm. We actually want this hotel to get business,” Viete told KIRO7. “So they’re going to get the FEMA funds. And the rooms are going to be occupied by people who need them. So it’s a win-win. The funds are there; the county just has to apply for it.”
Sure, the antifa mob is pure and has the best interests of the hotel at heart. Rioters just want to force the staff to do their bidding at knifepoint so they can direct more business to the hotel. Good luck defending that in court, occupiers.
Police arrested at least seven of the antifa agitators and may arrest more.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.