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Two women injured after car drives through crowd of protesters in Seattle



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Two women are in a critical condition after a car barrelled through a crowd of protesters in Seattle.

A 27-year-old man allegedly drove a white Jaguar around vehicles that were blocking Interstate 5 and sped into a crowd of protesters at around 1.40am on Saturday.

A police report released by the Washington State Patrol names the driver as Dawit Kelete of Seattle.

Footage taken at the scene by protesters showed people shouting “Car! Car!” before fleeing the road.

Summer Taylor, 24, of Seattle, and Diaz Love, 32, of Bellingham, are in a critical condition with multiple injuries, according to Harbourview Medical Centre spokeswoman Susan Gregg.

Ms Love was filming the protest in a nearly two-hour-long Facebook live stream captioned Black Femme March takes I-5 when the video ended abruptly with about 15 seconds left.

Shouts of “Car!” can be heard as the camera starts to shake before screeching tyres and the sound of impact are heard.

Washington State Patrol captain Ron Mead said the driver was in custody and has been charged with two counts of vehicular assault and bail was denied.

Officials were trying to determine the motive as well as point of entry on to the interstate.

Washington State Patrol released a picture of the vehicle driven by Dawit Kelete who is suspected of driving into a crowd of protesters (AP)

Mr Mead said Kelete was suspected to have driven the wrong way on a ramp, and said troopers did not know whether it was a targeted attack, but impairment was not considered a factor.

Seattle has been the site of prolonged unrest following the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked nationwide protests.

Dozens of people were arrested this past week in connection with protests as demonstrations continue after authorities cleared the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest zone on Wednesday morning.

Mr Mead said at the press conference that protesters had shut down the interstate for 19 days in a row.

He emphasised that the motorway is “simply not a safe place” for pedestrians, and said he hoped protesters would cease what he termed “unlawful behaviour” in blocking the interstate.

“My hope is, as a result of this tragedy, protesters will reconsider their desire to be on the interstate because I cannot guarantee their safety, plain and simple,” Mr Mead said.

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Protesters were on the motorway for more than an hour before the car drove around the blockade at around 1.36am, Mr Mead said.

The state patrol tweeted out two pictures of the driver’s car, a white Jaguar with significant damage to its bumper and windscreen.

Seattle police tweeted that they were assisting with the scene, as southbound lanes of the motorway remained closed for investigation.

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