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May 2, 2013 at 7:31 AM

May Day protests: What was the message again?

Police make an arrest and use their bikes to push back the crowd of media and protesters at Fifth Avenue and Olive Way during the May Day protest in Seattle on Wednesday May 1, 2013. (Photo by Bettina Hansen / Seattle Times)

Police make an arrest and use their bikes to push back the crowd of media and protesters at Fifth Avenue and Olive Way during the May Day protest in Seattle on Wednesday May 1, 2013. (Photo by Bettina Hansen / Seattle Times)

Protesters took to the street on May Day. Again, they tussled with police. According to The Seattle Times news side story, 17 were arrested and 8 officers were hurt.

The city was better prepared, and avoided the property damage anarchists did to downtown Seattle in 2012. It wasn’t quite a riot, but the evening messiness of tear gas and firecrackers were enough to erase the peaceful protesters’ message earlier in the day.

And what were those peaceful people protesting? Immigration reform, workers rights. I doubt the Congressional and state representatives who will vote on those issues will remember the message.

My takeaway from the World Trade Organization riots in 2001 in Seattle was chaos. I remember little about fair trade, which is what the protesters wanted highlighted.

Is this what the ’60s were like? That decade’s protests defied the Vietnam War and racial segregation. Seeing police officers fire-hose peaceful protesters horrified the rest of the nation.

The 1992 L.A. riots that followed the Rodney King trial verdict had a point. The fury around the case, which involved an African American man and police brutality, caused racial tension to boil over in the city.

There are deep chasms of inequity in our state that deserve attention, and the peaceful protesters did their best to shed light on them earlier in the day. May Day 2013, sadly, will be remembered for violent protesters and lines of police bicycles.

My suggestion: In 2014, protesters should protest anarchists. “Anarchists suck” would make a great sign.

Comments | Topics: May Day


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