The streets around East Precinct’s 12th and Pine headquarters were closed to traffic Tuesday as authorities prepared for a May Day of rallies and protests throughout Seattle.
At Seattle Central, a student walk-out was scheduled to begin after 11a.
Meanwhile, Occupy Seattle is rallying at Westlake Park in a revival of their efforts in the downtown public square.
Tonight, the annual May Day march will make its way from the Central District’s Judkins Park to downtown where a protest against Wells Fargo is planned.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and SPD have issued warnings about possible public safety issues based on information posted online about groups traveling to Seattle to be part of protests. Stevens Elementary has canceled after school activities but school officials say that move is more about transportation worries than public safety concerns. Metro and the city have also issued warnings that Tuesday afternoon’s commute could be snarled by protests.
Reasons behind today’s protests vary by participating groups and individuals. For some, the annual May Day march is an opportunity to show solidarity with labor and immigrant groups. There is also the continuation of the Occupy effort to push back on Wall Street and big banking while others are focused on doing battle over police violence and concerns over eroding civil liberties.
UPDATE: According to people familiar with the warnings issued from City Hall there are no specific threats and authorities are preparing for a wide variety of situations.
The group gathering at Seattle Central currently numbers less than 100.
UPDATE: The crowd has grown to around 200 and is matching through the school before heading down Pine to Westlake to join the downtown rallies.
UPDATE: The SCCC group had joined the Westlake rally where hundreds are gathered.
UPDATE: The Westlake Crowd has taken the rally to the streets and a crowd with police estimates in the thousands is winding its way through downtown traffic.
UPDATE: Here’s the preliminary report from SPD on the day’s incidents.
Update @ 8 pm: Following Mayor McGinn’s emergency order, officers seized about 70 items which could be used as weapons during today’s demonstrations, including sharpened tape-wrapped wooden stakes; metal poles; screw-topped wooden staffs; a shield made from a plastic traffic barrier; and a corrugated metal portable barrier with sharp, jagged edges. You can view a gallery of some of the items here:
6:30 pm: Officers have made two more arrests–a 30-year-old man for pedestrian interference, and a 20-year-old man for vandalism–bringing the total to eight.
5:30 pm: So far, officers have made six arrests at demonstrations this evening.
The most recent arrests came just after 5pm, when officers took a 24-year-old man, a 30-year-old woman, and 28-year-old man into custody for felony assault at 1st Avenue and Pike Street just after 5 pm. Preliminary information indicates the 30-year-old punched an officer, the 28-year-old grabbed an officer, and the 24-year-old spit on an officer.
4:45 pm: One additonal arrest near 1st Avenue and Pike Street. More details to come.
3:30 pm: Officers have seized homemade incendiary devices and bags of feces in downtown Seattle and made several arrests, after a group of men and women dressed all in black–known as a “Black Bloc”–used sticks, smoke bombs and improvised incendiary devices, rocks, paint, hammers, and tire irons to damage vehicles and businesses Tuesday afternoon.
Members of the “Black Bloc” broke windows at the Federal courthouse at 3rd Avenue and Marion, Bank of America at 5th Avenue and Olve Way, Wells Fargo Bank at 4th Avenue and Seneca, and Homestreet Bank at 6th and University. Niketown, American Apparel and multiple cars at 6th and Pike Street and 5th Avenue and Seneca.
As of 3 pm, officers had arrested a 23-year-old man at 6th and Union for vamdalism, and a 19-year-old man at 4th Avenue and Pike Street for carrying a fixed-blade knife.
In light of today’s events, Mayor Mike McGinn has also issued an emergency order giving officers the authority to seize anything that could be used as a weapon during today’s demonstrations.