UPDATE: We’re elevating this back to the top of the homepage given questions and concerns we’re hearing via mail and Facebook. Robocalls went out Monday night telling parents that after-school activities at at least one Capitol Hill elementary school have been canceled because of concerns for public safety. UPDATE: A Seattle Schools representative confirms the decision but clarifies the closure at Stevens Elementary was made “because of concerns about transportation issues with the May Day marches (no safety concerns). The concern was for students on the southern end of the Stevens attendance area not getting stuck in the traffic mess.”
We’ve added updates from Occupy Seattle and Metro regarding possible issues with Tuesday afternoon’s commute to the bottom of the post. The Seattle Times has information about the march from the Central District to downtown.
INITIAL REPORT: The Seattle Mayor’s office Friday issued a statement warning about possible violence and property damage around Tuesday’s planned May Day marches and protests. “We also have evidence that other people may be coming to Seattle on Tuesday with the intention of using the public demonstrations as an opportunity to commit violence, damage property and disrupt peaceful free speech activity,” it reads. The full statement is below. 2011’s Seattle May Day rallies were peaceful — and well attended.
Statement on May 1 Demonstrations
SEATTLE –On Tuesday, May 1, several organizations will be holding public demonstrations in Seattle. This will include an annual May Day March for Immigrant and Workers Rights from Judkins Park to downtown Seattle, an Occupy Seattle-sponsored General Strike, and rallies scheduled throughout the day at Westlake Park. The Seattle Department of Transportation advises that delays should be expected downtown during the Tuesday afternoon commute.
We also have evidence that other people may be coming to Seattle on Tuesday with the intention of using the public demonstrations as an opportunity to commit violence, damage property and disrupt peaceful free speech activity. There has been a significant increase in graffiti and posters alluding to violence around the May 1 events. Websites have described trainings in how to conceal weapons beneath signs and banners, and how to target police officers on horses. At a protest at the Port of Seattle in December 2011, several people used peaceful demonstrators as a shield to throw projectiles and incendiary devices at police officers.
Early Thursday morning an incendiary device was thrown at a bank in Columbia City. This was similar to an attack on a bank that took place in Portland late Wednesday night.
Seattle Police command staff and Mayor’s Office staff have been working with protest organizers, property owners, and other stakeholders to facilitate peaceful, constitutional demonstrations. Officers will respond appropriately to criminal acts and threats or harm directed against participants, non-participants, and property.
While much of the day is expected to be peaceful, CHS is told that posts on sites like pugetsoundanarchists.org have concerned authorities and prompted the warnings. This post on the site says Seattle Police referenced an “intelligence report” in a meeting with May 1st organizers. “During the meeting, the SPD revealed that they are very worried that people will attempt to de-arrest each other if the police attack them,” the post states.