21 demonstrators outside Westin Seattle arrested for blocking 5th Avenue

SEATTLE -- Police arrested 21 people for blocking a downtown street during a Labor Day demonstration by hundreds of Marriott hotel workers and supporters outside the Westin Seattle Hotel.

Local 8 of the Hospitality Union of the Northwest said the demonstration was taking place because Marriott employees in Seattle and in a half-dozen other cities have been working without a contract for months.  A union contract covering 400 workers expired on May 31, the union said.

The union said more than 20 of its Local 8 members and their supporters were arrested after "occupying 5th Avenue between Stewart and Virginia streets during peak traffic."

The Seattle Police Department said that at 5:54 p.m., the incident commander ordered the protesters back onto the sidewalk or face arrest for failure to do so.

"All 21 protesters refused to leave the street, despite numerous alternative options offered by the police. At 6:12 pm officers issued a final dispersal order to each individual, and each one refused to leave the street. All 21 individuals were arrested without incident," SPD said.

The department said the arrested demonstrators were booked into the King County Jail for pedestrian interference.