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Detention center protesters given 24 hours to tear down structures, Tacoma police say

The city of Tacoma is giving activists camping outside the Northwest Detention Center on the Tideflats a day to remove all the structures erected since a protest began there Saturday.

Notices were posted Wednesday afternoon giving protesters until 6 p.m. Thursday to dismantle any structures they erected that are in violation of Tacoma Municipal Code, police spokeswoman Loretta Cool said.

"People do have the right to demonstrate," Cool said. "We have assisted people, and we will continue to assist them to safely demonstrate.

"We also have to enforce the municipal code. We're giving them plenty of warning time."

The notices specifically mention tents, canopies, gazebos, sunshades, tarps and temporary restroom facilities.

"Right now, we're not moving," said Andy Ribaudo, a spokesman for the protesters. He added that the group is talking with its attorneys to determine its next steps.

The 29-year-old Federal Way resident called the city's decision to order the campers to tear down their structures a "scare tactic."

"It's a way to come down on dissent with our communities when we stand up against oppression," Ribaudo said. "We're not an armed militia, so it's easier for the state to crush us because they will always have the resources to do what's necessary."

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Activists began to assemble Saturday in front of the federal immigration detention facility to protest of President Donald Trump's policy of separating children from their parents when their parents are arrested for immigration violations.

Tacoma police arrested 10 people Tuesday night outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center, which is run by the for-profit Geo Group. Two are going to be charged with third-degree assault, resisting arrest and obstructing police. Seven were released without charges being filed, and a charging decision on a 17-year-old is pending.

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