Seattle Police prepared for May Day 2013 protest on Capitol Hill

The Pink Bloc was on the scene downtown in 2012 (Image: CHS)

The Pink Bloc was on the scene downtown in 2012 (Image: CHS)

Much of the activity in Seattle’s May Day protests of 2012 happened off of Capitol Hill. Officials this week are making preparations should the events of May Day 2013 take a different path.

“We just want to be prepared to respond where needed,” East Precinct Commander Capt. Ron Wilson told CHS Monday morning.

Wilson said the familiar street barriers around East Precinct headquarters at 12th and Pine will again be readied for the protest activity expected in the city on Wednesday. But they won’t be deployed unless SPD feels that developing events during the day warrant increased protection for the facility. “My goal is to keep the streets open for as long as practically possible,” Wilson said.

The East Precinct’s most recent preparations for a possible clash with anarchists and protesters in March ended up with the street barriers deployed — but a smaller-than-expected turnout of protesters.

Given published plans for May Day 2013 events in the neighborhood, East Precinct is in for a long day of vigilance.

As events unfold downtown in the afternoon with the arrival of thousand marching from the Central District for immigration rights, planned protest activity on Capitol Hill isn’t slated to begin until after the afternoon commute when an “Anti-Capitalist” rally and march begins on the Seattle Central campus at 6 PM:156847_471269572945000_366494954_n

Spring has sprung! This is a call for everyone who wants to celebrate May 1st by honoring the history and struggle of May Day. We will converge together in solidarity with our comrades facing repression from last year’s May 1st demonstrations and also to continue to stand against the oppression of our everyday lives in all forms, from the borders to the prisons and from bosses to the police. May Day is a day of tradition, a day to remember all our comrades that can’t be here with us and to remind each other that our struggle is global!

Meet on Wednesday May 1st at the corner of Pine & Broadway (SCCC) at 6pm. There will be a rally and a march.

Mostly quiet on Hill in 2012 (Image: CHS)

Mostly quiet on Hill in 2012 (Image: CHS)

While last year’s May Day on Capitol Hill was relatively quiet compared to the violence that occurred downtown, Capt. Wilson said his precinct learned from the much-criticized response. “It was very insightful to learn from last year’s event,” Wilson said. “It gave us an opportunity to improve on the tactics that we’re using.”


(Image: CHS)

(Image: CHS)

An independent report on the May Day 2012 incidents commissioned by SPD concluded that many in the department were unsure of their roles prior to the downtown protests. Also, an internal memo leaked following the 2012 riots criticized Chief John Diaz and the department for its response and tactics as thousands of marchers took over downtown Seattle. The memo documented SPD’s use of undercover officers assigned to infiltrate the gathering crowds and what it described as poorly planned deployment of officers when violence broke out. An ongoing media effort to identify and capture suspects from the day’s violence and vandalism resulted in only a handful of charges. Meanwhile, an FBI probe of Portland anarchists’ connections to the May Day protests in Seattle was revealed late last year.

According to some posted schedules, Wednesday is slated to wrap up with a “celebration” at E Pine’s Black Coffee Co-op starting at 9 PM. A check of the cafe’s web site shows it will be closed to the public all day on May 1st. UPDATE: We talked to a representative for Black Coffee who wanted everybody to know the shop will be closed so the co-op’s members can celebrate the important day and are holding the 9 PM event as a private gathering. Scott Davis said they considered not holding a celebration marking the greater historical and cultural significance of May Day out of concern that it would be too closely associated with Seattle protests but that Black Coffee ultimately decided to hold the party. Davis said information and material about May Day will also be available outside the shop on Wednesday.

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82 thoughts on “Seattle Police prepared for May Day 2013 protest on Capitol Hill

  1. I love the irony of an Anarchist party at *gasp* a small business. Isn’t there some abandoned house they can occupy somewhere, or an overpass they can play under? Any place even slightly more removed from our horrible capitalist system would make more sense to me.

    In any case, if you ever needed a reason to avoid black coffee co-op . . .

    I wish these kids would stay out of my neighborhood. How is SCCC a rallying point anyway? A place that participates in and encourages individuals to participate in our capitalist economy also seems a little contrarian.

    Here comes a wave of vandalism and shoplifting and loads of garbage strewn all over my neighborhood. Whatever political message these kids might have, that’s all I ever remember about them.

    • You talk about anarchists like you know one. Do you? Have you had a conversation with someone who says they are an anarchist? If you look around you, you can clearly see, it is difficult to do ANYTHING without capitalism these days. People have been pushed under bridges, like you said, and raped of their ability to manifest their own destiny SANS capitalism. I am not an anarchist but I doubt “they” are anything like you have made up in your head. Instead of glazing over your belief system, do some investigation. We are all more alike than you are perceiving from your current perspective. But good news, there are lots of perspectives and you you can change yours anytime!

    • >>I wish these kids would stay out of my neighborhood.
      >>How is SCCC a rallying point anyway?

      They’ve been doing the same place for years. If you really haven’t noticed, shows how into your neighborhood you are.

  2. Perceived irony seems to be all people like you care about.. At least the anarchists, naivete or not, are motivated enough to act.. what have you contributed exactly?

    I like litter, it adds character.

  3. I smell a troll!

    So confused on this one. I do plenty for my community; things that add value and provide services to my neighbors and my city and those less fortunate and less motivated than I am.

    Anyway, thanks for the ad homenim attack.

    Litter adds character? Then how would you feel about wallowing in garbage – dream come true or what?

  4. j.vanzetti

    I’m just opposed to people being used because of their naivete and your claim that they are motivated or contributing to anything.

  5. Uhh, what exactly is so weird/ironic about anarchists hanging out at a small, community oriented, worker’s cooperative? A WORKER’S COOPERATIVE!!! I mean, that’s about as in line with anarchist ideas as you can get. You can hate anarchists all you want, but at least make a valid point.

    Also, this is not “your” hood. Capitol Hill is a community made up of a lot of different kind of people. Many of whom are huge weirdos. That’s what makes it awesome.

  6. Wow, I wish police cared this much when my car window was vandalized. Is vandalism suddenly a top police priority. Can I get an officer stationed at my house? Or is this just political repression …. hmmm … I wonder.

  7. There’s of course nothing at all wrong with peaceful protests. It’s a shame it gets ruined every year by anarchists.

  8. Hmmm… a “worker’s” co-op where no one actually works…nope, nothing ironic there. As someone who lives on the block, I can can attest the fact that this place has brought down the neighborhood in a big way.

  9. Does anyone else find it ironic that the SPD readies street barriers around the East Precinct? For some reason, this seems somehow darkly humorous — I mean, that they are so prepared for some sort of attack on THEIR headquarters — nevermind the rest of the Hill.

  10. Wow, Black Coffee Coop single handedly brought down a whole neighborhood?!?!? I guess I have to start hanging out there more often. Although how you “bring down” the Pine/Pike corridor, which I pretty much solely associate with rowdy nightlife and ugly condos, I do not fully understand. Maybe you mean “added some character.”

  11. I don’t see how destroying our neighborhood does any good. If anarchists are so concerned with sticking it to big corporations, fine, but their negative behavior on days like this hurts all the regular people who live in the neighborhood. Destruction is not the way to fix things.

  12. The people who run the Co-op seem like very nice people, and they certainly mean well, but I am sure I am not the only who has been harassed by their customers on the street or had to listen to the shouting matches from the clientele that goes there. I want these people to do well, but yes, they are definitely doing a lot to harm the neighborhood. I also live on the block and now have to cross the street instead of walking in front of the place because of the people camped out front half the time. Inside there are sometimes threatening shouting matches but the proprietors don’t call the cops because they say their clients have enough trouble or it wouldn’t be a nice thing to do. What about the other people, who paid to have their coffee in peace? Sigh…..

  13. I am not actually enthusiastic about the neighborhood being “destroyed,” I just find that claim ummm….inflated. I don’t live on that block, but I certainly live near it and I walk by that place pretty much every day, often several times a day. I have never been harassed or seen anyone be harassed, but I will have to take your word for it. Obviously, that is not okay, but why should Black Coffee get any more flack for it than say, Linda’s (I HAVE been harassed while walking by there on many occasions)? Because it’s run by scaaarrry anarchists?? Come on. As for being forced to listen to the arguments going on in there, or the people who have paid to have their coffee in peace…ummm…there are at least 2 other places to get one’s coffee within a 2 minute walk of that place. It doesn’t make sense to me to go somewhere and complain about it for being what it is and what it is actually supposed to be.

  14. Rachel, after reading your porst I am left to wonder if your conversational ‘ummmmm’ tone is as demeaning and
    condescending in person or is this just a keyboard persona? ‘I’ll have to take your word for it’. Multiple puncation marks starts the day off right for sure!!!!

  15. “Also, this is not “your” hood. Capitol Hill is a community made up of a lot of different kind of people. Many of whom are huge weirdos. That’s what makes it awesome.”

    I don’t care if people want to be weirdos – that’s what attracts me to this neighborhood as well. When other people can’t move freely and sh*t starts getting broken as a result of said “weirdos”, that is when I have a problem with anarchists. Protest peacefully, but if you block streets and break windows, expect to be arrested. I for one will cheer when you are.

  16. Bananafruit – I live ON Bellevue, not IN Bellevue. So, on the Hill. Sorry, too late, I’m already here.

    What is your problem with me? That I don’t like people vandalizing our neighborhood and blocking our streets? I’m curious why I struck a nerve.

  17. P.S. I already stated that I’m fine with peaceful protest. So again, not sure what your problem is with me. Do you live on the Hill as well?

  18. Who’s destroying our neighborhood? Certainly not any anarchists I know. I see more destruction by the corporations and developers who are taking over our once unique hill and turning it into another lifeless, yuppy haven of condos.

  19. My mistake.

    As far as your complaints, blocking streets is a time-honored tradition of protest, and it really is only a minor inconvenience, as you really only have to go a couple of blocks to get around it, or wait a few minutes for it to pass. And I’m curious, who exactly is vandalizing our neighborhood? Was there massive vandalism last year on May 1st that happened ON the hill?

  20. I don’t think you understand me. I don’t have a problem with anarchists as long as their actions don’t violate my rights……so hopefully we won’t see that tomorrow. I’m not the demographic you think I am. I’m not a yuppie and I don’t live in a soulless new building. I never said that anarchists were “destroying our neighborhood”. What I said is that I don’t want the vandalism that happened downtown last year to happen on the Hill this year. Does that help?

  21. It might not infringe upon mine, but it infringes on others’ rights. Somebody who is trying to get to an appointment and who can’t be because the street is illegally blocked. A business owner or operator whose property is vandalized.

    You might say that blocking streets is a time-honored form of protest, but if you don’t have a permit it’s illegal. And please don’t tell me you’re trying to justify vandalism.

  22. Freedom of speech and freedom of assembly doesn’t include violating other’s rights to freedom of movement. Like blocking streets during rush hour. You are free to say what you want. You’re not necessarily entitled to a venue. Make sense?

  23. Actually, if nobody is inconvenienced, then what is the point of protest? That is the whole point! To make a scene! Don’t you get it?! Rachel Maddow even said so! I seldom ever agree with her, but she was right about that.

  24. Got it. So basically you’re pissing off the same people you hope to sway. Just like Critical Mass. Let me know how that works out for you. I’ll actually be on a plane this time tomorrow, so it won’t directly affect me. But it will affect others. Well, at any rate, have fun and try not to break anybody else’s things.

  25. @ Paul on Bellevue

    Do you think the capitalist economy is reliant on a mindless consumption of goods and services?

    “I’ll actually be on a plane this time tomorrow, so it won’t directly affect me. But it will affect others.”

    Pollution affects everyone, Paul.

  26. @ Rainworshipper

    “Destruction is not the way to fix things.”

    If that is the case then we should no longer be drilling for gas and oil.

    @ WhyThankYouForAsking

    “Hmmm… a “worker’s” co-op where no one actually works…nope, nothing ironic there. As someone who lives on the block, I can can attest the fact that this place has brought down the neighborhood in a big way.”

    The Black Coffee Cooperative has brought a refreshing atmosphere to the community. Have you read any of the literature about anarchism they have there for free? They work very hard to nurture positivity in the community and the world as a whole. Don’t cheapen their dedication to the community based on your biased opinion rooted in divisionary tactics.

  27. “It might not infringe upon mine, but it infringes on others’ rights”. What an insanely stupid thing to write. Where on earth did you drag up these so called rights that are being infringed upon? You’ve got quite the imagination, paul.

    Nobody wants to “sway” you paul. It sounds like you’ve pretty much made up your mind already.

  28. Uhhh, environmentalschischi….I was talking about the PROTEST not affecting me. Not sure what point you’re trying to make.

  29. If you call rush hour your “freedom of movement” I greatly pity you. It’s also funny and sad how quickly your argument breaks down because you realize that you don’t actually give a shit about the things you are arguing for. Who are you protecting? because last year the businesses that were attacked were banks and large corporations. Not businesses run by people who live in Seattle or Capitol Hill or “your neighborhood.”

    “You are free to say what you want. You’re not necessarily entitled to a venue. Make sense?” No!! It doesn’t make sense. All you are doing with that statement is 1. making yourself feel ok by saying we are free to do what we want 2. making it impossible for us to actually do that by saying we don’t necessarily deserve a place to do that. Another way of saying that is … you people are free to do what you want… But! only if it doesn’t get in our way of continuing and supporting the system of money and war and genocide and killling this earth by driving to work everyday.

    I mean come on, get a soul.

  30. ” making it impossible for us to actually do that by saying we don’t necessarily deserve a place to do that”

    Get a permit and then you have a place. Problem solved, eh?

    • fuck permits. If people are protesting a system, why the hell would they ask that system if it was OK with them? You didn’t answer any other thing I brought up. So, I guess that means you don’t have much else to say except the answers that the media or whatever controlling resources you get you information from. Try experiencing something other than what you are told.

  31. ohsosad

    Those are businesses that employ people who can spend money at places like the coffee shop and all of the other local businesses that people on Capitol Hill try and run. Coffee shops don’t exist because they are frequented just by people who work in other coffee shops.

  32. So you value a window more than a human’s body? Do you think an object that is not alive being smashed means that a living breathing body should be smashed?

    Violence against private property, is not comparable to violence against bodies. Speaking of which… property of whom? The people that are telling the cops to beat people up. Come on, can’t you see that saying things like this just protects other people than you? People who make money off of violence every day?

  33. Yeah protect capitalism is exactly what you just said. It doesn’t mess up my day but it messes up money’s day! And I’m not a person, I’m just a defender of movement of money! That is what you are arguing for. What the fuck?!

  34. Did you know that all effective protests were inconvenient? They all blocked traffic and generally got in the way, did things we call “violent” now. You wouldn’t have rights you have today if it weren’t for these effective protests. You know what makes a protest ineffective? Being marched around by the police after purchasing a permit. That’s not even a protest. That’s siphoning peoples’ legitimate rage into an outlet that does nothing at all, challenges nothing, achieves nothing, preserves the status quo. The state knows this, they’ve been honing this for years. They also redefined “violence” in such a way as to get you, an average citizen, to rage against effective protest as well. You get all bent out of shape about the “violence” of a blocked street or a broken window, but completely ignore the violence of capitalism, wage labor, unemployment, human rights abuses, the banks getting bailed out while we don’t, etc etc. You completely ignore that you and I are completely powerless, and that a broken window is nothing to them, but is a meek statement of protest from us. It’s the only statement of protest that we can get through to them, and it would be sad if we got nothing through to them at all.

    Stop identifying with banks and giant multi-nationals. A broken window to them is not what a broken window to you is. And know that by your standards the civil rights movement should have been put down.

    You might not like Black Coffee but that place is popular as all get out, so don’t pretend that they’re intruding on “your” neighborhood. Clearly they’ve already become a welcome part of the neighborhood.

  35. I truly do not understand the point of vandalizing others property to sway people to any given cause. Can somebody please lucidly explain this tact to me?

  36. “I truly do not understand the point of vandalizing others property to sway people to any given cause. Can somebody please lucidly explain this tact to me?”

    It’s a very sensible question. Good luck getting a thoughtful reply that is more insightful than “fuck the man”.

  37. “So you value a window more than a human’s body? Do you think an object that is not alive being smashed means that a living breathing body should be smashed?”

    I don’t think either should be smashed.Why does it have to be one or the other? Seriously, do you listen to yourself?

    Targeted vandalism is wrong. Doesn’t matter if it’s Starbucks, Chase Bank, your house, my workplace, whatever. Stop justifying it and maybe people will take you seriously.

  38. This comment thread is nothing but a troll party. Much like the Anarchists will be acting tomorrow. Nothing but trolls.

  39. OutOfMyHood: I’m guessing that most of them don’t even live here either. I guess it’s easier to break things if you don’t have to live with the mess you made the next day. Glad that there are a few sensible individuals such as yourself on the thread. Cheers.

  40. I’m another long-time resident of the Black Coffee block, and I wholeheartedly agree with Frustrated and others above. The block dramatically changed when Black Coffee moved in. I also believe it’s actively hurting nearby businesses (Raygun in particular) through continued harassment of people on the street by the crowd of regulars that now Occupies The Sidewalk.

    I have no problem with their cause. But the way they operate Black Coffee is only doing harm to their image and cause; instead of being the friendly, open environment it could be, they’ve created something divisive and disruptive. They’ve pissed off many of their neighbors, and given an unwelcome sense of unease to an area that could’ve been receptive to their goals. It’s a far cry from their stated mission to create

    ““Safer-space,” for those who don’t feel safe or welcome in most public spaces. This means we actively attempt to keep the space free of prejudice. This also means we are always open to learning how to become more safe and welcoming.”

  41. Paul, I do live here, and I’m regularly cleaning shit up and sweeping up broken glass, because someone’s got to do it and I don’t want any dogs stepping in that. We’re not into littering for littering’s sake, or smashing for smashing’s sake. That’s not what it is. This is politics. This is class war. We’ve been the losers for a long time, and it’s sad that all we can do is break their windows, but we’re pretty much obligated to show them that we’re pissed. You’re aware of how awful banks are, right? No one is holding them accountable for what they do. Someone has to do something, and you people aren’t.

    This isn’t about converting you. Everyone knows that you attract more liberals with catchy campaign slogans and whining about republicans than by breaking glass.

  42. So you are breaking windows to make a political point. What about the regular folks who work at the bank branches? Are they unwilling pawns in your class war? Sounds like you don’t really care about them.

    I hope that you get arrested if you pull that shit tomorrow. That is what you deserve.

  43. To Rachel, who says that places like Black Coffee exist for people to be shouting inside them and creating disruption–yes, they exist for discussion, and I do believe discussion and community happen there–no, they should not exist for people to go into and threaten other people, telling them they will “cut them” if the go out onto the sidewalk. That’s a criminal threat, and if those kind of patrons are not stopped soon only hooligans will go there.

    To the reasonable voices on this discussion thread, I agree–if any May Day “celebrations” lead to violence and property destruction, I hope the perpetrators are caught and prosecuted to the full extant of the law. As someone said above, protests can be inconvenient–slow traffic, have sit-ins, PEACEFULLY protest. Breaking windows and such is criminal behavior and is inexcusable. I also notice that a lot of the people who defend this sort of behavior do it by namecalling instead of civil discourse.

    As far as asking people to leave the sidewalk, I do believe that businesses like Black Coffee (and Linda’s, which someone mentioned above) do have a responsibility to discourage improper behavior on the street in front of the business. When they do not do so, they are being a bad citizen of the neighborhood.

  44. People who spend money at coffee shops get it at plenty of places other than those businesses. We would be better off without them. Without their factories, without their mass production, without their advertisement, without their enslavement of the human body. There are other options. We choose not to accept those corporations and banks anymore, we choose to fight against them because they attack our people and our home.

  45. dear paul,
    Of course some of these people live on capitol hill. Its a desirable neighborhood because it’s one of the few dense neighborhoods in the city that doesn’t resemble a strip mall. Of course, the easy way out for you and others like you with limited political insight is to simply insist that the people you disagree with don’t ‘even live here’. Typical bait for a weak argument.

  46. I saw the aftermath of that little stunt downtown last year. It wasn’t just banks and storefronts that had their windows smashed in. It was peoples’ vehicles as well. Cars and SUVs, some with child seats in them with their windows smashed out. These are individuals, not faceless companies.

    I hate what the banks did too, but saying it’s just about making a statement to corporations is a bit disingenuous. It’s just vandalism.

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  48. Just because we don’t agree with you doesn’t mean we’re all mindless zombies. Try arguing the same way you should be protesting–peacefully. We may all fundamentally disagree with each other, but we’re not being controlled by the media. Many of us are highly-educated thoughtful people who work on changing things through example, through our actions, and through persuasion–which sounds like some of what you want to do. Some of us simply disagree with the mechanism of vandalism, destruction of property, and violence as a way to effect change. Innocent people get hurt (and I know some radical will respond that corporations hurt innocent people etc etc etc). Two wrongs don’t make a right.

  49. Assuming all vandalism done at a protest is done by anarchists is like assuming all Catholic priests are pedophiles!

    Wait, I think I got that wrong. Bad analogy because all Catholic priests are pedophiles but not all anarchists are vandals.

    Oh and in answer to why do people smash windows? Have you ever tried to smash wood, concrete, brick or asphalt? That shit just doesn’t really smash so well. I mean sure it breaks, splinters, melts, and burns but nothing smashes like glasses.

  50. So because I don’t support vandalism I have “limited political insight”. And you are accusing me of a weak argument. Take your snotty trustifarian attitude and run along now.

  51. I live on the hill, I actually own my place, and I do hang out at Black Coffee. I don’t consider myself an anarchist, or identify with any specific group. I’m just trying to make a place for myself here.
    Mostly my concern is about the neighborhood. Whether it be a protest, the Capitol Hill Block Party, or just a Saturday afternoon….people treat our neighborhood like crap.
    I’ve just taken to carrying a bag around that I can put garbage in.
    Whatever you’re doing, I just ask that you be considerate to the people who live here and the beautiful city we are lucky to live in.
    My 2 cents.

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  53. And the diluted argument continues!

    1> “Please help throw pebbles at the tank called Capitalism.”
    2> “No. That is ignorant and won’t alter it’s course.”
    1> “It will if we throw enough pebbles, then people will talk about the pebbles which were thrown and more people will throw pebbles!”
    2> “And then…?”
    1> “Profit!”
    2> “Wait what?”
    1> “We don’t know. We’ve never thought about what would happen if we succeed.”
    2> “Crush corporate capitalism? Maybe it will be replaced with unemployment. At least you will dislodge the top one-tenth of 1 percent… forcing them to retire and live on their millions of dollars in assets and reserves.”
    1> “Yes!”
    2> “And in the lull of the corporation getting sorted/shutdown, the millions of people affected, ex-workers and their families, that is a small price to pay for sticking it to the top few.”
    1> “F the people and their families, this is better for America!”
    2> “America? As in the people now unemployed and their families?”
    1> “Let’s throw pebbles at unemployment next!”

    Sorry, I got carried away.
    There is so much mindless bickering in this thread. What was the alternate solution proposed to replace capitalism?
    The event is to celebrate an 8 hour workday is now a statement that capitalism is bad and the people that work should feel bad?

    So f’n confused!

  54. and out comes your next weak argument paul. now, not only do we not live in this neighborhood, we are also ALL “trustafarians”. We are of course all white, too.

    You have no political insight because your argument thus far is total crap, not because i’m a little snot with more money than sense.

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  57. Freedom of speech guys… the May Day marches are all about protesting for improvement of the rights of all of us. The people protesting are largely young people – college students and beyond who still have a heart and a mind to help change the world – bless their hearts for trying. These marches are also heavily attended by families and their children, people who are working hard to make ends meet. Please show them at least a little love and respect, and maybe even some support. Our country is based on freedom of speech. This is our legacy, our right to say what we want from life and be heard, to engage in civil discourse and to speak out when we feel we’ve been wronged or that life can be made more just.

  58. I’m not sure how vandalism proves any points in society. These people need to get off their asses and do something productive because honestly, standing in the middle of the street with a sign hasn’t changed anything in this city yet. You want real change? Join the legislature.

  59. You have done nothing but cost the city and business owners a lot of money… suck! Go get a job lamoes. Really? Now our jails our filled with your stupid asses??? You do NOTHING!

  60. These people have done nothing and have no cause. They have cost the city and innocent bystanders nothing but money. They don’t even have the courage to show their faces. What have they achieved but taking the few resources we have to put the “real” bad people away.