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News Analysis Dec 30, 2020 5:18 PM EST

Antifa group continues occupation of Seattle-area hotel, grows in numbers, takes over more rooms

The Post Millennial's exclusive interview with Antifa activists who took over a motel in Washington and are refusing to pay, demanding that local government pick up the tab.

Antifa group continues occupation of Seattle-area hotel, grows in numbers, takes over more rooms
Ari Hoffman Seattle, WA

This article was published more than 1 year ago, information might not be up to date.

On Christmas Eve, Antifa activists rented sixteen motel rooms in the Travelodge in Fife, Washington. Christmas Day they refused to leave and refused to pay for the additional nights. The activists are now demanding that local government pick up the tab and turn the motel into a shelter.

Tacoma Housing Now (THN) paid for 16 rooms for one overnight stay on Dec. 24 at the Travelodge and then moved in more than 40 people. Rebecca Parson, spokesperson for THN and local socialist activist, told The Post Millennial that they targeted that specific location because "…it had the cheapest rates in the area for the first night that we intended to pay for."

Parson indicated that more research had been done on picking the location. In a pre-rehearsed speech she told all media outlets that the owner received $50,000 in PPP loans to help his struggling business.

Parson even claimed they are bringing business to the motel by "…demanding that the city and county pay for the other nights we have been here.”

Parson claimed that the owners want them there and are happy to have them but the owners told a very different story.

"These people book it for one night, cheat me into it and now tell me that I am doing something…somebody needs to be paying for it," the Travelodge operator told KING 5.      

The manager of the motel told The Post Millennial, "I understand their problem, but it is not Travelodge's fault. We had nothing to do with it and now this is happening to us."

THN has refused to pay for additional nights and are demanding that the city or county pay the motel bill and designate the motel a shelter, as has been done in other parts of the state. Neighboring King County rented and purchased several locations for shelters and quarantine locations for the homeless at the beginning of coronavirus pandemic.

The homeless residents of the King County hotels have been pointed to as a source of spiking crime in the surrounding neighborhoods as well as vandalism and even arson at the hotels. The county has providing alcohol and other controlled substances to entice homeless residents not to leave locations being used as quarantine facilities.

Parson told The Post Millennial that the city and county have millions of dollars from the CARES act and FEMA to spend on the homeless, but could not provide a source for those figures when asked.

Parson also claimed that funds can come from defunding the police to help solve systemic racism, as the mostly-white group of activists occupy rooms in a hotel owned by a family of color.

Since the 24th, the activists have broken into two additional rooms, bringing the occupied lodging to 18 rooms and also brought in more people, increasing their numbers to approximately 60.

Parson said that there are about 15 volunteers onsite to help and everyone else is homeless.

One of the two was a woman who approached from the street, dragging her belongings and asked one of the activists if this was where she was supposed to be. She was then led to a room.

Parson said that there are people in the rooms who have "…everything from cancer to severe infections seizures, all sorts of chronic illnesses." She also claimed they have a "medic" to help treat them. Parson did not mention that THN exposed everyone in the hotel to COVID because of their actions including the people with pre-existing conditions like cancer and chronic illnesses.

When asked how they were dealing with the substance abuse issues that come with helping a homeless population or how they were caring for people with cancer, Parsons pivoted and said that their standards of care are up to "medic level."

The activists would not allow The Post Millennial access to any of the rooms they had taken over. According to the hotel manager, the motel operator told the house keeping staff not to go into those rooms for fear for their safety. Parson claimed the group is maintaining the rooms themselves. We observed cars pulling up to the location and more activists unloading supplies to the motel.

Parson claimed that the THN is only six weeks old but the group is actually part of Antifa. Extremist site It's Going Down has published a post by the far-left activists, stating that some of their members are "veterans" of the recent Antifa street battles in Olympia, WA and put out the call for more soldiers and supplies.

In November, Tacoma Housing Now broke into the abandoned Gault Middle School building in Tacoma and moved homeless people inside. After explaining the air in the building was toxic which is why the building was abandoned and condemned, Tacoma police moved the group out.

Though THN claimed to be in the motel with the owner’s permission, Parsons says that they have a protest in the parking lot everyday at 11AM during checkout time "…in case the owner decides to call the police on us to come kick us out."

THN claimed that "Housing people in unoccupied hotels doesn’t ruin anyone‘s business." Yet Shawn Randhawa, the motel operator, told KOMO News that if the cost of the rooms goes unpaid, it’s only a matter of days before he will have to shut down the motel, which was already devastated by the pandemic, and lay off his employees.

"I’m just devastated," Randhawa told The News Tribune. "Because of the protest, I have nothing else. I was barely getting through this pandemic, and now this. This Christmas, the Grinch came."

"I’ll have to lock the doors. and if the city won’t kick them out, they can have it," he told The News Tribune. "I’ll shut off the water and I’m not fighting with these people. I believe there should be a law."

Randhawa told The News Tribune that he feels the group isn’t giving him a choice and he doesn’t feel supported by the police or the city. "They are keeping me hostage. No one is out to help me," he said. "It’s complete lawlessness in the city of Fife."

Randhawa does have the support of the neighborhood. A local business owner pulled up to motel and offered to book as many rooms as it would take, to help them stay afloat and "...maybe if you can show the police you have people who want to rent these rooms, and you are losing money, they will come kick these guys out." He added that he was tired of activists "pulling this crap" across the state of Washington.

Fife Police Chief Pete Fisher even acknowledged that the local police are not inclined to help the motel. "We’re trying to see if we can work out a resolution without having to take law enforcement action," Fisher told The News Tribune. Sources inside the Fife Police Department tell The Post Millennial that they have been monitoring activist's chatter and activists are hoping to provoke a reaction from the police so that they can get more media attention.

As demonstrated by the Travelodge occupation, activists in Washington state have adopted the Seattle activist model of occupying a location and holding it for ransom, as other groups have been rewarded with millions of dollars for their actions.

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