May 1, 2013 at 10:26 AM
17 arrested, 8 cops injured as May Day protests turn violent
UPDATE AT 8 A.M.: Seattle police say the revised number of people arrested in May Day violence is 17, earlier reported as 18.
UPDATE AT 11:15 P.M.: Police say they aren’t expecting any more trouble tonight, but will be out in large numbers just in case. At an evening news conference, they showed some of the items that had been thrown: mostly chunks of concrete and bottles.
“I sure hope this doesn’t become a tradition, because this doesn’t reflect the best of Seattle by any means,” said Mayor Mike McGinn. “We’re a bigger, better city than this. I’m disappointed that this is the picture that the world sees of us.”
Raw video: SPD description of violent May Day protest
UPDATE AT 10:55 P.M.: Seattle police are reporting that there have been 18 arrests during the evening’s protests, and eight officers suffered injuries, mostly scrapes and bruises.
UPDATE AT 10:10 P.M.: Friends of the man arrested at Cal Anderson Park deny he was throwing rocks during the protest. They said officers grabbed him earlier in the evening, but he was able to slip out of his backpack. “He didn’t throw [anything],” said one young woman, who claimed she was pepper sprayed and hit with a baton during the march.
“For the most part, it was a peaceful protest,” a second woman said. Both declined to give their names.
UPDATE AT 9:50 P.M.: Police have made another arrest, this one at Cal Anderson Park. The man was suspected of throwing rocks at police. That brings the total to 14 arrests.
UPDATE AT 9:23 P.M.: Seattle police say one officer was injured when he was hit by an object that was thrown near Minor and Pine shortly after 8 p.m. The extent of the officer’s injuries was not immediately known.
A total of 11 adults and two juveniles have been arrested, police said.
A police official said officers began making arrests after they were pelted with “boulders,” rocks and bottles.
UPDATE AT 9:16 P.M.: Some people on Capitol Hill are cleaning up the mess left behind by the protesters/vandals.
UPDATE AT 8:56 P.M.: Protesters set up a blockade of overturned newspaper racks and trash cans at East Pine Street and Harvard Avenue. A lot of trash in the street.
Police continue to push the mob. Several windows on the Walgreens at Pine and Broadway have been shattered.
UPDATE AT 8:48 P.M.: A window at Pine and Broadway has been shattered as protesters head up Capitol Hill. The crowd has dwindled.
One protester is blaming Seattle police for inciting the violence.
Jordan Eisen, 23, who works at Seattle Central CC, called the police conduct absurd.
“They’re making this into a war zone when it’s not,” he said.
He said last year people the protesters sparked the violence. This year, the cops did it.
“If you’re in a crowd and you’re surrounded by police in riot gear you get defensive,” he said.
UPDATE AT 8:36 P.M.: The pepper spray and flash-bang grenades are moving the crowd onto Capitol Hill. A handful of additonal arrests.
The crowd of protesters is dwindling. Not a single Guy Fawkes mask in sight.
UPDATE AT 8:27 P.M.: Police are now using their public-address system to tell the protesters to disperse or they face arrest.
Raw video: SPD use tactical spray
UPDATE AT 8:22 P.M.: Capt. Chris Fowler, the incident commander, said police are deploying pepper spray canisters to disperse the crowd.
“It’s a safety issue,” Fowler said.
Crowd continues to head east on Olive, toward Capitol Hill.
UPDATE AT 8:12 P.M.: Police are now herding protesters east on Olive Way. Police using flash-bangs to move the crowd. Objects, including a skateboard, are being thrown at police.
Police continue to use pepper spray to clear the crowd.
UPDATE AT 8:06 P.M.: Seattle police say they plan to give the official order to clear the streets. Things could reach a head soon.
UPDATE AT 7:59 P.M. Police are making more arrests at Olive, between Fourth and Fifth. Police are also using pepper spray for the first time.
Raw video: Pushing and shoving
UPDATE AT 7:54 P.M.: The two men taken into custody were apparently assaulting a TV cameraman, police say. One was reportedly on a pogo stick (the protester, not the cameraman).
UPDATE AT 7:48 P.M.: Seattle police are making a couple of arrests at Fourth and Pine.
UPDATE AT 7:35 P.M.: The crowd has come full circle. They’re now at Westlake Park, where the “festivities” began this morning.
Still no arrests.
UPDATE AT 7:28 P.M.: Police say some are throwing metal pipes and other objects at windows.
UPDATE AT 7:25 P.M.: Group now at Sixth and Pike and Niketown, epicenter of last year’s violence when self-proclaimed anarchists — some wearing Nikes — broke windows. Heavy police presence there today.
Someone set off a flare.
UPDATE AT 7:20 P.M.: Crowd heading west on Pike over the freeway.
Police say the broken window was at Sun Liquor. A police source says demonstrators may have taken bottles.
UPDATE AT 7:12 P.M.: Even the superheroes got hosed with Silly String. Oh, the humanity.
Crowd continues to march toward downtown, although the marchers don’t seem to know where they’re going.
A window was reportedly broken at East Pike and Belmont. Still no word of arrests.
UPDATE AT 7:01 P.M.: The group has now stopped at Pine and Broadway. Heavy police presence.
Many in the crowd are unhappy with the media. A KING-TV reporter was doused with Silly String.
UPDATE AT 6:56 P.M: Marchers have left SCCC and are heading west along East Pine toward Broadway, possibly in a route that will take them downtown. Police say some in the crowd appear to be lighting flares or some type of smoke devices.
Someone set off firecrackers.
Thus far, no arrests.
UPDATE AT 5:33 P.M.: The rally at the federal building is breaking up and many people are making their way up Capitol Hill for what’s labeled an “anti-capitalist” rally and march.
It’s set to begin at 6 p.m. at Seattle Central Community College.The route of that march is unclear as organizers did not obtain a permit from the city, according to Seattle police. It was during last year’s anti-capitalist march that dozens of protesters wielding sticks, hammers and rocks went on a noontime rampage.
A large group of Seattle police bicycle officers were seen heading up to Seattle Central CC a short time ago.
Seattle police say there have been no arrests.
UPDATE AT 4:58 P.M.: Marchers are beginning to arrive at the federal building in downtown Seattle. The march is several blocks long so it will take some time for all to reach their destination.
Things are still peaceful, although some members of the crowd — generally people with bandannas over their faces — are taunting some police. The officers are not reacting.
The highlight of the march was covered by this SPD Tweet: “Brief disturbance earlier at 5th & Jackson between superheroes & clowns. Everything’s under control.”
UPDATE AT 3:25 P.M.: In what may be the first sign of potential trouble, Seattle police say they have recovered rocks and bricks possibly placed in advance of today’s May Day events. Police say the objects were recovered in the East and West precincts.
Meanwhile, police are lining the route as marchers may their way to downtown. Still peaceful.
Raw video: Dancers lead Immigration march
Raw video: Immigration march heads down Jackson
UPDATE AT 2:54 P.M.: Marchers are heading up 20th Avenue South on their way to downtown. Click here for more on their route.
Police continue to maintain a heavy presence. No reported problems so far. The mood of the marchers continues to be festive.
UPDATE AT 2:16 P.M.: During the second media briefing of the day, Seattle police Capt. Chris Fowler said things continue to be peaceful.
Still no arrests and no disruptions as speakers address the crowd at Judkins Park, where the atmosphere is festive. Hundreds of union members and pro-immigration activists are listening to speeches in English and Spanish. One person held a sign that read, “You can’t deport us from your stolen land.”
Among those in the crowd at Judkins is Seattle attorney Peter Ehrlichman, who is the deputy monitor overseeing a court-imposed settlement agreement between the city of Seattle and the U.S. Department of Justice. Ehrlichman said he was watching the event as well as the police response.
Spotted at the Judkins Park rally is the first of the predictable Guy Fawkes masks. More are sure to follow.
Marchers will leave in about an hour for the downtown Henry M. Jackson Federal Building, where police will maintain a heavy presence, Fowler said.
Marchers are expected to arrive in downtown Seattle around 4:30 p.m. Click here to read more on the march route. Police warn motorists that there will be rolling street closures as marchers make their way downtown.
Fowler said police planned for about 10,000 marchers, but it doesn’t appear the actual number will come close.
UPDATE AT 1:21 P.M.: Demonstrators are beginning to arrive at South Seattle’s Judkins Park in greater numbers in advance of this afternoon’s rally and march.
The rally is set to begin at 1:30 p.m. followed by the march to the downtown Henry M. Jackson Federal Building beginning at 3:30 p.m. Organizers say about 3,000 will attend the rally, with thousands more expected to join in the march.
The crowds are orderly and seem to be enjoying the sunshine. There’s music and food and a heavy police presence.
UPDATE AT 12:33 P.M: Self-proclaimed “superhero” Phoenix Jones has arrived at Westlake Park and is being interviewed by the media. Jones and other superheroes reportedly plan to be on hand in case violence breaks out.
Jones, who calls himself the “guardian of Seattle,” was criticized by police when he responded to violence at last year’s May Day by hosing down protesters with pepper spray.
But police seem to be a little more welcoming this year. On a May Day post this morning in the department’s online blotter, police urged citizens to “come on down and revel in your First Amendment rights, show off your flashy superhero costume, or just hang out and enjoy the crowds.”
UPDATE AT 12:07 P.M.: Police plan to ensure May Day protests are orderly and will make arrests if anyone resorts to violence, Capt. Chris Fowler said during a media briefing this afternoon at Westlake Park. So far there have been no arrests, he said.
He said police plan to stress safety and will deal with protesters on a “case-by-case basis” if they block the streets.
Thus far, things have been orderly and going according to plan, he said. He reported no serious problems.
Raw video: SPD briefs media at Wesltake Park
During the briefing, one profane protester tried to shout out police, but Fowler continued speaking to the media through the din.
Police plan another briefing later in the day.
Meanwhile, at least one anti-anarchist stood in Westlake Park arguing with a protester. A few protesters dressed as clowns arrived on bicycles, took a few spins around the park and then headed off.
UPDATE AT 11:42 A.M.: Several demonstrators used colored chalk to write messages on the Westlake Park pavement.
They included a peace sign, several anarchy symbols and the message in pink chalk to “film the police.”Meanwhile, police plan their first media briefing of the day at noon at Westlake Park. We’ll update this post as soon as the briefing begins.
ORIGINAL POST: There are more reporters than protesters gathered this morning at the first of several planned May Day events.
An anarchist group calling itself the Salish CIRCA (Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army) invited others to appear at 10 a.m. at Westlake Park dressed as clowns. Early on, only a couple of teenagers wearing gas masks had appeared at Westlake.
City park rangers, private security and a few Seattle police bicycle and mounted patrol officers were also at Westlake.
About a dozen May Day activists mocked the police and uttered profanities along with vague references to “corporate America” and the “corporate media.” Predictably, some wore hooded sweatshirts and covered their faces with bandanas. Clothing in basic black appeared to be the uniform of the day.
“We pay them to … arrest us,” one man told the crowd. “We pay them to pepper spray us.”
The officers responded by calmly sipping coffee.
Seattle police Capt. Chris Fowler, who is overseeing this year’s May Day planning, will brief the media at noon at Westlake Park.
Fowler earlier said he has been given a clear directive from police brass: Allow peaceful marchers to exercise their free-speech rights but be prepared to arrest people who commit crimes against people or property.
That message got muddled a year ago, when planning didn’t begin until a week before May Day and officers were sporadically deployed, with conflicting messages regarding when they could use force to stop violence. As a result, police found themselves undermanned when dozens of violent protesters broke away from a midday march, smashing windows at the William Kenzo Nakamura U.S. Courthouse, businesses and cars in the downtown core.
While no one was hurt, the business-oriented Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) called for a thorough review of the police response.
This year, police are preparing for a 1:30 p.m. rally at Judkins Park in South Seattle, followed by a march to the downtown Henry M. Jackson Federal Building beginning at 3:30 p.m. Police expect about 10,000 people to participate in what is being billed as the 13th annual May Day march for worker and immigrant rights.
What is likely to be a smaller demonstration, labeled an “anti-capitalist” rally and march, is set to begin at 6 p.m. at Seattle Central Community College. The route of that march was unclear Monday as organizers did not obtain a permit from the city, according to Seattle police.
It was during last year’s anti-capitalist march that dozens of protesters wielding sticks, hammers and rocks went on a noontime rampage.
The Downtown Seattle Association is confident that police have learned lessons, said James Sido, the association’s public-relations manager.“We do feel SPD has a solid road map how proceed in these situations,” Sido said, predicting better communication and organization.
Raw video: A few gas masks at Westlake Park
Raw video: Scene at Westlake Park, 10:40 a.m.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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