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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

May 1, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Few dozen marchers remain on Capitol Hill

Only a few protesters left

Update at 11:45 p.m. Traffic is moving through the Broadway and Pine intersection. There few protesters left along the side of the intersection and police are keeping a wary eye on them.

Police retake intersection

Update at 10:57 p.m.: Police rushed the crowd at Pine and Broadway and have taken the intersection. They’ve made two arrests, bringing the total to seven. At least one man was resisting arrest.

Bad idea.

Some in the crowd are throwing objects at police. They’re standing along the sides of the intersection.

Arrest total now at 5

Update at 10:45 p.m.: Seattle police moved into the group around 10:30 p.m. and doused a fire they had set in a trash can at Broadway and Pine. The dwindling crowd, which appears to be tiring, didn’t put up much of a fight.

Police say the arrest total is now at 5 with the recent arrest of someone for throwing a brick at Broadway and Pine.

Police say a handful of officers suffered minor injuries, although the number was not immediately known.

Back to where they started

May Day Demonstrators sit across Broadway and Pine. (Photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

May Day Demonstrators sit across Broadway and Pine. (Photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Update at 9:46 p.m.: The crowd is now at Broadway and Pine, where they started about three and a half hours ago.

Police are trying to block them from going back downtown. The numbers have dwindled, but there are still scores of people milling around.

Bicycle cops are surrounding the group.

Three arrests, a few damaged cars and a broken bus window so far.

Arrest made at 6th and Virginia

A protester is arrested near 6th and Virginia. (Photo by Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)

A protester is arrested near 6th and Virginia. (Photo by Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)

Police using pepper spray

Update at 8:47 p.m.: Police say they have recovered a gun from a protester at Sixth and Battery. Also, they used pepper spray after some people began hurling batteries.

Chris Tiedemann was stopped at a stoplight in Belltown around 8:30 p.m. when protesters came around the corner and started beating on his BMW convertible with at least one skateboard.  They then jumped on his car.

“They smashed the whole side of the car,” Tiedemann said.

Police took a report.

A bad day for a drive through Belltown

Police surround a convertible that was driving near 3rg Ave and Wall Street, protecting it from May Day demonstrators. (Photo by Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)

Police surround a convertible that was driving near Third Avenue and Wall Street, protecting it from May Day demonstrators. (Photo by Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)

May Day demonstrators surround and sit on top of a VW sedan near Wall and 2nd Ave. (Photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

May Day demonstrators surround and sit on top of a Volkswagen sedan near Wall Street and Second Avenue. (Photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Even superheroes aren’t safe

May Day protestors mass in front of stores at 6th Ave and Pike.

May Day protesters mass in front of stores at Sixth Avenue and Pike Street. (Photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Update at 7:55 p.m.: Seattle police broke up a fight between a protester and a self-styled “superhero” in costume. No one was injured and police made no arrests.

Not sure which superhero was involved; it wasn’t Phoenix Jones.

Meanwhile, the seemingly aimless march continues.

Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said it appears only one arrest has been made so far.

“Preliminarily it was for property destruction,” Whitcomb said. He said that it appears the person arrested was vandalizing a QFC on Capitol Hill. He said they’re still waiting for additional details from the East Precinct.

Whitcomb said the situation officers are facing is “very fluid right now” and that police will let protesters keep walking around in apparent circles.

“We’re going to let it go until the event has concluded,” he said.

Crowds march past a bus window that was broken by May Day protesters at 6th Ave and Pike Street. (Photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Crowds march past a bus window that was broken by May Day protesters at Sixth Ave and Pike Street. (Photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Back on Capitol Hill

Update at 7:43 p.m.: Marchers made their way back to Capitol Hill, where they gathered at Boren and Pike.

They then turned around and are now making their way back downtown.

Their message? They don’t appear to have one.

As evening arrives, May Day demonstrators make their way past Pike Street and Hubbell.

First arrest

Update at 7:33 p.m.: Seattle police appeared to make the first arrest of the May Day march when they took a hooded man into custody at Broadway and Pike. It wasn’t immediately clear what the man did, but police led him away.

As he was being arrested, the man was surrounded by bicycle officers trying to protect the arresting officers.

Protesters at Third and Yesler

Masked demonstrators march along Yesler Way near 9th Ave. (Photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Masked demonstrators march along Yesler Way near Ninth Avenue. (Photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Masked demonstrators march along Yesler Way near 6th Ave. (Photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Masked demonstrators march along Yesler Way near Sixth Avenue. (Photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Update at 6:56 p.m.: The group of protesters has hit the area near Third and Yesler, surrounded by a lot of police. The group is peaceful, despite a few chants directed at police.

They appear to number a few hundred. Most are in masks. They may be staging for another push in another direction.

No arrests so far, but there have been reports that some protesters are passing out sticks.

It’s unclear where they are headed.  They may not know themselves.

A large SPD bike patrol unit trail a group of May Day demonstrators marching south in Pioneer Square. (Video by Steve Miletich / The Seattle Times)

Group may be gathering at juvenile jail

Update at 6:35 p.m.: The protesters, many in masks, appear to be headed to the Juvenile Detention Center, where other protesters have gathered. A huge contingent of police are riding bikes next to the group.

The marchers do not have a permit, so police don’t know their route.

Once they reached Spruce Street, some members continued toward 12th and a second broke off toward 14th.

They’re still peaceful.

Marchers on the move from Seattle Central

Protesters begin to march from Seattle Central College Plaza in the "Capitol Hill May Day Concert." (Photo by Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times)

Protesters begin to march from Seattle Central College Plaza in the Capitol Hill May Day Concert. (Photo by Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times)

Update at 6:21 p.m.: Demonstrators who gathered at Seattle Central College are on the move, marching east from Broadway to Pine Street. A large number of police are following, including bicycle officers.

Group is heading past Cal Anderson Park.

After immigration reform rally festivities end, May Day demonstrators, some masked, begin to move in a group from Seattle Central Community College. (Video by Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times)

Protesters at juvenile jail

Update at 6:17 p.m.: A group of protesters have gathered at the King County Juvenile Detention Center at 12th Avenue and East Spruce Street for yet another anti-capitalist march. Police presence is heavy and officers outnumber protesters.

So far, the group is behaving. The march is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Destination unknown.

Concert at Seattle Central College

Demonstrators wearing Guy Fawkes masks begin to gather at Seattle Central College. (Photo by Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times)

Demonstrators wearing Guy Fawkes masks begin to gather at Seattle Central College. (Photo by Mark Harrison / The Seattle Times)

Update at 6:05 p.m.: A handful of people in masks have gathered at Seattle Central College, scene of a “Capitol Hill May Day” concert.

The crowd is scattered and maybe numbers about 200, with many being members of the media. It’s very mellow with live music.

Hundreds rally downtown

Kshama Sawant talks to the crowd just after 5:30pm after the 14th annual May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Rights arrived in Westlake Park

Kshama Sawant talks to the crowd just after 5:30 p.m. after the 14th annual May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Rights arrived in Westlake Park. (Photo by Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)

Update at 5:43 p.m.: Among the speakers are Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, who spoke out against Mayor Ed Murray’s $15-an-hour minimum wage proposal. She said it “falls short;” the crowd applauded.

Murray’s plan calls for the city’s minimum wage to climb to $15 an hour, phased in over three to seven years depending on the size of business and whether workers receive tips or benefits in addition to salary. After that, the wage would be tied to the Consumer Price Index, with estimates showing it rising above $18 an hour by 2025. Current minimum wage is $9.32 per hour.

The deal was finalized Wednesday night, after Murray returned from a study mission with the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce to New York City.

Marchers reach Westlake Park

Crowds in the 14th annual May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Rights arrive at Westlake Park at 4th and Pike. (Photo by John Lok / The Seattle Times)

Crowds in the 14th annual May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Rights arrive at Westlake Park at Fourth and Pike. (Photo by John Lok / The Seattle Times)

Update at 4:56 p.m.: Marchers have reached Westlake Park. It will be awhile before those in the rear make it to the park.

There’s a heavy police presence, including a lot of bicycle cops.

No trouble so far.

March nears Westlake Park

Crowds march in the 14th annual May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Rights at 8th and Madison. (Photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Crowds march in the 14th annual May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Rights at Eighth and Madison. (Photo by Bettina Hansen / The Seattle Times)

Update at 4:48 p.m.: Things remain peaceful and there’s a mellow vibe as marchers near Westlake Park. There’s a heavy police presence, but thus far no signs of trouble.

Meanwhile, in Westlake Park, things are quiet.

March continues through downtown

 

Update at 4:42 p.m.: Marchers are chanting, “The power of the people don’t stop!” (Video by Katherine Long / The Seattle Times)

Update at 3:57 p.m.: Participants in Seattle’s May Day march continue to move down Jackson Street. (Video by Katherine Long / The Seattle Times)

March to Westlake under way

Crowds march in the 14th annual May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Rights. (Photo by Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)

Crowds march in the 14th annual May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Rights. (Photo by Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)

Participants in Seattle’s May Day march continue to move down Jackson Street. (Video by Katherine Long / The Seattle Times)

Update at 3:10 p.m.: The immigration march from Judkins Park to Westlake Park has begun with a few hundred people.

The “May Day March and Rally for Workers and Immigrant Rights” is sponsored by El Comité and the May First Action Coalition.

Marchers are peaceful, enjoying the beautiful weather. They’re holding signs urging a $15-an-hour minimum wage and immigration reform.

Downtown businesses taking precautions

Workers hang paper to protect newly-installed tile from possible May Day demonstrations near the intersection of Sixth and Pine around 2:00 in the afternoon. (Photo by John Lok / The Seattle Times)

Workers hang paper to protect newly installed tile from possible May Day demonstrations near the intersection of Sixth and Pine at about 2 p.m. (Photo by John Lok / The Seattle Times)

Update at 2:50 p.m.: A supervisor at Arcteryx’s downtown store said he didn’t expect the Canadian outdoor gear shop to be a target of any violence. In past years, vandals have targeted bigger companies, like Nike, which they view as symbols of global capitalism.

“Our Canadian company, I don’t think most people have heard of it,” said Bryan, who declined to give his last name.

At Cherry Street Coffee House on Olive Way, employees say their boss told them to stay open until 6 p.m. One employee said he was worried how he would get home to Capitol Hill.

Another employee said this is the first time she’s seen security officers in their office building, the Medical Dental Building.

She said they were just brought in for today.

‘Nothing weird’ going on yet

Update at 2:28 p.m.: Some businesses in downtown Seattle are taking precautions in case things get violent later today.

At the AT&T shop on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Pike Street, sales representative Reyna Flores said they plan to close at 6 p.m. instead of the normal 8 p.m..

The building owner has several security guards stationed out front.

So far, Flores said, there’s been “nothing weird” going on.

Business is slow, but that’s not unusual on sunny days or when a parade or march is scheduled, she said.

Neven Chukov from Absolute Hotdog in Westlake Park said he refuses to close early.

“I’m not here for the protests, but they bring in business. I’ll take a chance,” he said.

Chukov sells hot dogs and pitas in a trailer inside the park.

 Rally and march preparations

Seattle Police officers ride their bikes downtown on 2nd Ave. and Pine St., around 12:30. (Photo by John Lok / The Seattle Times)

Seattle Police officers ride their bikes downtown on Second Avenue and Pine Street at about 12:30 p.m. (Photo by John Lok / The Seattle Times)

Update at 1:10 p.m.: People are beginning to gather at Judkins Park for an immigration rally scheduled for 2 p.m.

In addition to a handful of people, police are also gathered at the park.

The rally, sponsored by El Comité and the May First Action Coalition, will be followed by the 14th annual “May Day March and Rally for Workers and Immigrant Rights.”

The march is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. at St. Mary’s Church, 611 20th Ave. S., and end with a second rally at Westlake Park.

 Ominous graffiti

Update at 12:07 p.m.: West Precinct Capt. Chris Fowler, speaking to reporters in Westlake Park, said the No. 1 priority for police is to ensure peaceful demonstrations proceed as planned.

Fowler, who is in charge of the police response to May Day, said police have contingency plans to arrest those who break the law. He said there has been more rhetoric from anarchists and others than in previous years, but he didn’t seem concerned about graffiti threats.

Police found “Kill SPD” spray-painted on a bank at 13th Avenue and East Madison Street, but it appeared no different than graffiti that has appeared in previous years. Seattle police, on their blog, headlined a post on the vandalism thusly: “Vandals unveil plan to topple gov’t by damaging post office, 3 Capitol Hill bizs.”

Nonetheless, reporters seemed intent on asking questions about the threats as well as what turned out to be an unfounded report of slashed patrol-car tires on Capitol Hill.

Police deployment won’t change even though there are few protesters in the downtown area at present, Fowler said, but he conceded police have heard more threats about direct action than in previous years.

“This is somewhat akin to 2012,” Fowler said, referring to a May Day that was marred by broken windows in downtown Seattle. “We’re prepared to support the marchers, as long as they’re peaceful.”

Mounting up

Seattle Police sit on horses in front of Sephora, at Westlake Park around noon. (Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

Seattle police sit on horses in front of Sephora at Westlake Park around noon. (Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

Update at 12 p.m.:| Members of the Seattle Police Department’s mounted patrol began gathering in Westlake Park shortly before noon, although things remained quiet. “We’re going to be here all day, for whatever happens,” said one officer.

Imperial storm trooper

This May Day demonstrator is hoping for a peaceful day. (Photo by Jack Broom / The Seattle Times)

This May Day demonstrator said he is hoping for a peaceful day. (Photo by Jack Broom / The Seattle Times)

Update at 11:49 a.m.: A Seattle man wearing what he said is a “Star Wars” helmet arrived at Westlake Park, which was quiet shortly before noon. The man, who said he is in his 20s, said he wore the helmet not just to conceal his identity from police, but from potentially violent demonstrators.

“I’d like things to go as peacefully as possible,” he said.

He said he has participated in demonstrations before, but that this is the first time he has worn the helmet.

Shortly before noon, there was very little sign of demonstrators at the park, but a half-dozen police officers on bicycles around the park perimeter.

Waiting at Westlake

Original post:

Seattle police and downtown businesses are gearing up for today’s May Day activities, which are expected to bring thousands in and around Westlake Park.

This far, things are quiet around Westlake, where officers plan to patrol in advance of the annual immigration march. There have been some reports of overnight graffiti on Capitol Hill, but no major property damage.

Police say someone spray-painted “Kill SPD” at a bank at 13th Avenue and East Madison Street. Also, “smash this” was painted on a restaurant window at 12th Avenue and East Madison.

aaarollcall

Seattle police gather for this morning’s roll call in advance of the May Day events. (Seattle Police Department photo)

Events on Thursday include the 14th annual “May Day March and Rally for Workers and Immigrant Rights” sponsored by El Comité and the May First Action Coalition. The march is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. at St. Mary’s Church, 611 20th Ave. S., and end with a rally at Westlake Park.

The march will be preceded by a rally at Judkins Park at 2 p.m.

There is also the Capitol Hill May Day concert from 5-7 p.m. at Seattle Central College, 1701 Broadway.

According to various websites, anarchists are being encouraged to meet at Seattle Central College at 6 p.m. for a march into downtown Seattle. They plan to “reoccupy” an unnamed public space, according to one website.

A second anarchist march, dubbed “May Day Anticapitalist March,” is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the King County Juvenile Detention center at 12th Avenue and East Spruce Street.

The marches will impact traffic downtown, particularly for bus commuters. Metro officials say that Fourth Avenue will be closed between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. and Pine Street is expected to be closed between 3 and 7 p.m.

During the respective street closures, Fourth Avenue bus routes will travel instead on Third Avenue, and Pine Street buses will travel on Union Street.

For information on route changes, check Metro’s website at www.metro.kingcounty.gov and Sound Transit’s website at www.soundtransit.org.

Police plan to be out in force to prevent violence that marred that past two May Day events.

Police were criticized for being ill-prepared and undermanned when widespread vandalism erupted during the 2012 May Day, when waves of black-clad vandals broke downtown windows.

Last year, police appeared to follow some of the recommendations that grew out of those failures. They utilized three obvious tools: deploying waves of bike officers, setting off blast bombs loaded with powdered pepper spray and creating paths to disperse an unruly crowd.

Although windows at three Capitol Hill businesses were broken in 2013, the damage did not approach what occurred a year earlier. Police arrested 17 people — more than double the number of arrests in 2012.

Kate Joncas, president of the Downtown Seattle Association, and one of the most prominent critics of the 2012 police response, praised how police handled last year’s event.

“They were well prepared, and it showed,” she said.

RELATED LINKS:

Evening commute could be disrupted by May Day activities

Photo gallery: May Day in Seattle

Photo gallery: May Day around the world

Jon Talton: May Day and immigration

Map of Seattle Times journalists’ tweets from the scene

Comments | More in General news, The Blotter | Topics: May Day, Seattle Police Department, Westlake Park

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