City of Spokane prepares for potential protests week of election
SPOKANE, Wash. — The nation is six days away from Election Day. The City of Spokane is preparing for any potential political fallout. As they get ready, local organizations have called on elected officials to denounce far-right extremist groups and support the election process.
The city will open an Emergency Operations Center on the morning of the election.
“So regardless if we have intel or not, if there is the potential for something that could cause damage to our community, to our environment, to our infrastructure,” said Sarah Nuss, Emergency Operations Manager for the city, “we stand up in EOC to have that in place for if something happens.”
The city says if there is trouble, like there was on downtown streets in May, extra police officers could be called in, if requested.
“It’s providing resources that are needed to protect the community and public health and public safety and all those things,” Nuss explained.
No protests have yet been announced. However, 52 organizations are calling on elected officials to take action against “armed paramilitary militias” seeking to intimidate the community.
“We’re saying as a community is that this isn’t a partisan issue,” said Lu Hill, Board President of Spectrum LGBTQIA+ Spokane. “We want the elections process to be held and we want to make sure all the votes are counted and we also don’t want there to be any violence associated with that. ”
Hill said that protesters should be met by police in a non-violent way.
“We want safety and we want to uphold democracy,” she explained.
The Spokane Police Department said they’re prepared to act if protests or anything criminal happens.
“We will be planned for them. Absolutely,” said Sgt. Terry Preuninger with the department. “And again, we will continue to look at intelligence that we gather. We know that that’s a possibility so we’ll have resources available for it.”
The Emergency Operations Center will be up and running at least through the weekend of the election. Both the City and the Spokane Police Department say they haven’t seen any actual threats made.
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