Sunday’s Marcha Y Manifestacion Anual del 1o de Mayo 2016 crossed Capitol Hill and was a peaceful affair (Image: Alex Garland for CHS)
- (Image: El Comité)
- “Members of Seattle First Baptist Church giving water to passing marchers.” (Image: El Comité)
- (Image: Alex Garland)
(Image: Alex Garland)
Some stores on lower Pike followed the lead of the Starbucks roastery and downtown businesses in boarding up their windows for May Day (Image: @amykatehorn via Twitter)
UPDATE 8:25 PM: May Day 2016 played out almost exactly like 2015 — but this time, SPD’s tangle with the protesters was pushed across Belltown, downtown, Pioneer Square, and SoDo. There were at least five arrests and two reported injured officers, according to SPD. Police used a large number of officers, pepper spray and flash bombs, and aggressive use of bikes to leapfrog the crowd, hold lines, and direct the protest as the crowd attempted to rush from Westlake and through downtown.
Meanwhile on Capitol Hill — the scene of last year’s May Day standoffs between police and protesters — the night was quiet with the annual anti-capitalist march not being staged at Seattle Central this year as in years past. The protesters had said they didn’t want to be corralled again on Capitol Hill as police did during the 2015 response. But the results in 2016, even as the groups covered many more miles across Seattle, were the same. Police were able to control the demonstrators and channel their routes — this time pushing them north, then briefly west, then on the long walk south to SoDo. Along the way, the crowds of anticapitalists, anarchists, and demonstrators looked even smaller grouped below downtown’s highrises and megaretailers.
After meeting with some of the five injured officers at Harborview Medical Center, Mayor Ed Murray and SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole briefly recapped the evening outside the hospital. “We made it clear that once assaults begin, once property damage begins, we’re going to take action,” said O’Toole.
“Our plan was much better this year than it was last year,” O’Toole said.
The FBI’s Frank Montoya said part of the May Day response included a search in Eastern Washington in which agents recovered “possibly incendiary devices” in possession of a man as part of an investigation about threats against Seattle law enforcement officers. The man was not taken into custody.
Police said they are prepared if protesters reconvene overnight at Seattle Central.
Reports from earlier in the evening are below.
UPDATE 5:00 PM: A smaller than usual but equally enthusiastic crowd of marchers for the annual May Day labor and immigration rights march from the Central District to downtown took a longer route across Capitol Hill this year — but as usual, that part of the May Day activism was peaceful with no reported incidents of vandalism or police clashes.
UPDATE 6:35 PM: Clashes between protesters and police have begun downtown as officers attempted to contain the crowd on 5th Ave after an attempt by the protesters to move east on Pine. There were reports of attacks with sticks and stones by protesters as officers deployed pepper spray. Police were attempting to push the crowd to the north on 5th, according to radio dispatches.
There were reports of property damage and SPD commanders were giving the go-ahead to control and divert the crowd of around 200 protesters as the violence escalated.
“This is no longer a peaceful march,” the SPD incident commander announced via radio as the police response shifted from monitoring the protest to taking control of the crowd.
UPDATE 6:58 PM: For May Day 2016, we have apparently traded places with Belltown. The routes of the protesters are being controlled by SPD and so far the lines have held. The groups have been forced onto and around 2nd Ave in Belltown as SPD continues to separate and remove some protesters from the crowd while leapfrogging the crowds by utilizing a fleet of police vehicles.