May 1, 2012 at 3:06 PM
May Day protests turn violent early
Breakaway protestors at today’s May Day events in downtown Seattle broke windows and lit off an incendiary device at the U.S. Courthouse.
SEATTLE — A modest turnout at today’s May Day events in downtown Seattle didn’t prevent a determined band of anarchists from inflicting damage to two Seattle buildings. Just after noon approximately 150 protestors took to the streets in what was advertised as an “Anti-capitalist march.” The protestors left a few hundred more protestors in Westlake Park before heading west on Pike Street toward Third Avenue. The march was mostly peaceful and self-governed as it moved south. Most of the protestors were peacefully chanting and dancing, but an ominous group of anarchists, clad in all black, in the middle of the procession looked determined to shake events up as they moved along the procession.
When the marchers turned east on Seneca Street, several masked protestors broke from the ranks and began throwing rocks and debris at the windows of the Wells Fargo on the corner of Fourth and Seneca. One protestor had what looked to be a large wooden pole and was successful in punching a large hole into the bank’s ATM lobby window with it. Several others hurled rocks and paint at the front windows and quickly ran off. There were no police at the scene. Frightened bank workers ducked out of the way as the march pushed on towards Sixth Avenue. Some other businesses along the route were also damaged, including the Washington Athletic Club and Niketown. People at the head of the march seemed to be unaware of the broken windows and proceeded peacefully toward Sixth Avenue.
After the marchers turned back north on Sixth Avenue another splinter group broke away and began throwing rocks and debris at the doors of the US Court of Appeals. Once all of the doors were broken, a protestor set off a small incendiary device just outside of the building. Security guards stayed indoors but Phoenix Jones, of the “RainCity Superhero Movement,” unleashed a series of pepper spray blasts at the protestors before being pushed back by a band of anarchists. A couple of protestors were treated by volunteer medics at the scene for cuts and bruises and for pepper spray irritation. Approximately 15 minutes after the confrontation at the courthouse, heavily armed Homeland Security officers arrived to secure the scene.