UPDATE: Following a peaceful start to the day as thousands marched for immigrant and worker rights, police and May Day protesters tangled downtown and then back up the Hill as crowd control tactics including pepper spray and flash grenades pushed hundreds of people back into the neighborhood tonight. The push came as protesters — who had gathered tonight at Broadway and Pine before marching downtown — fought back as police attempted to clear crowds from the downtown area of the 2012 May Day riots. On the Hill, windows were reportedly broken out at several Capitol Hill businesses including Bill’s Off Broadway, Sun Liquor and Walgreen’s. More than a dozen people have been arrested including individuals in the groups that turned over garbage cans, through bottles and objects at police and briefly ran riot through the streets of Capitol Hill around 8 PM before disappearing into the night. Meanwhile, as of 10:15 PM, the streets around the East Precinct headquarters at 12th and Pine remained blocked by police in riot gear. UPDATE x2: Police say
18 17 people have been arrested and eight officers were injured responding to the protests. Meanwhile, the streets around East Precinct have been reopened to traffic.
Original Report: May Day 2012, for all the concerns over broken windows and clashes with police downtown, was a relatively quiet affair on Capitol Hill. Doing what we can to not add to the media hype but also provide information on this year’s happenings, we’re posting this open thread to update through the day and night as events warrant. Best case scenario: there’s nothing to report beyond a maypole dance. If you see one, let us know. You can always email us at email@example.com or call/txt (206) 399-5959.
- Seattle Police prepared for May Day 2013 protest on Capitol Hill: The yearly “anti-capitalist” May Day march begins at Broadway and Pine at 6 PM with renewed attention from police.
- Street closures: On Capitol Hill, East Precinct is prepared to close off streets near the 12th/Pine headquarters if needed.
- [mappress mapid=”59″]Annual May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Rights starts near Judkins Park: Our sister site Central District News will cover the rally and march as thousands gather to support immigration reform. Rally begins at 1 PM with march to downtown following at 2:30.
- SPD on May Day 2013: Officials have issued this statement on “what to expect” from SPD during today’s events:
“You will, however, certainly see a large number of uniformed officers around tomorrow’s rallies. They’re there to ensure you’re able to freely and safely exercise your First Amendment rights, direct traffic around the marches, and to prevent or respond to any unlawful behavior.”
- Buses and transportation: Metro is advising of expected service disruptions downtown for the planned march that will arrive in the area around 4:30 PM. The agency also reminds commuters to be prepared for changing conditions:
… due to many factors, schedule or service disruptions in one area can cause delays in other areas. With safety as its primary concern, Metro makes every effort to operate service according to regular routes and schedules. Routes and schedules anywhere in Metro’s service area may be affected based on situations beyond Metro’s control.
- Suspicious item: East Precinct officers shut down the area around E Garfield and E Madison this morning following a report of a suspicious item. The item was determined to be harmless, according to police.
- Twitter updates: Follow @jseattle for CHS updates and @SeattlePD for more from Seattle Police as the day unfolds.
- Rocks confiscated — 3:35 PM: Via Twitter, SPD said it had collected rocks found in two places in the city — including an East Precinct location: “Rocks were taken from two locations in E/W precincts to ensure they weren’t misused. May have been placed @ locations earlier.” Police said that a “concerned witness” called to report seeing somebody place the rocks.
- Q13: Local businesses worry about being May Day targets — 4:12 PM: “The owner of Domino’s on Broadway says he will be ready to videotape threats or attacks on his business.”
- Bark fire — 4:24 PM: Seattle Fire says the engine response to Bellevue between Pike and Union around 4 PM was for a “bark fire.” Apparently the landscaping material sometimes ends up smoldering — often due to “improperly discarded smoking materials.”
- Downtown reports — 4:55 PM: Reports from Central District News and media at the scene, this year’s march appears larger than 2012. It has also been mostly peaceful with a few incidents involving shenanigans from protesters dressed as clowns along the way. There are no reports of serious property damage or arrests at this time. The Fifth Avenue Seattle news blog is also covering the march.
- Capitol Hill transportation — 4:56 PM: If you need to travel across the Hill tonight, get moving. As the crowds shift downtown and some head up the Hill for the 6 PM rally and march beginning at Broadway/Pine, there could be traffic disruptions in the busy transit corridor. It’s a good night for a walk or a bike ride.
- Rally and march — 6:40 PM: After what can only be described as a festive gathering as the groups came together with free pizza, music — and a few threatening, anti-police signs — marchers took to the street heading north on Broadway with a phalanx of bike police trailing.
- Toward East Precinct — 6:50 PM: Streets around East Precinct at 12th and Pine are now being closed.
- The march — 7:21 PM: The large group of marchers proceeded to march up Broadway and circle through PIke/Pine before headed down Hill and, perhaps surprisingly to police who had barricaded East Precinct, toward downtown. There is only one report of significant property damage at this time. Police say a window of Sun Liquor on E Pike was broken during the march. Also, SPD had to intervene as one group of protesters turned on the gathering of Seattle “superheroes” who have received a great deal of media coverage for their show of support for police.
- Downtown damage — 7:28 PM: Police say that some protesters are now throwing “metal bars” at windows of downtown businesses damaged during the 2012 protests.
- Downtown arrests, pepper spray — 8:03 PM: Police and protesters have clashed downtown near 5th and Olive. Reports from the scene say pepper spray was used after protesters attempted to block arrests. Accounts also detail the use of flash grenades and fireworks. Police, via Twitter, say the command has been given for protesters to clear the streets. Police have confirmed they are using flash devices to attempt to disperse the crowd. You can watch live coverage of the downtown situation via KIRO 7 here.
- Meanwhile, at Sun Liquor — 8:10 PM: Life goes on.
- Clash on Capitol Hill — 9:15 PM: For the past 30 minutes, a hundred or more stragglers from the downtown protests made their way back up Capitol Hill, leaving dumped garbage cans, overturned newspaper boxes and broken glass in their wake. Windows and the glass door of the Walgreens at Pine and Broadway were smashed by rocks and at least one brick as protesters yelled at the approaching police. As officers arrived and locked down Pine, the group moved north on Broadway before being stopped by another line of bike police. From there, the group gathered and milled about Cal Anderson. At just before 9:20, a group was reported headed toward the East Precinct at 12th and Pine. As of 9 PM, 11 adults and 2 juveniles have been arrested. SPD reports that one officer has been injured. We have one report of a person arrested with a hammer in Cal Anderson.
- Flash bang on Pine — 10:03 PM: Here’s an account from reader Jen who caught this image as protesters scrambled back up Capitol Hill earlier in the night: “I happened to walk into Lil’ Woody’s to grab some dinner RIGHT as the May Day protesters started walking up Pike. I got a picture of one of the blast balls going off, it looked like it blew the car’s front headlight off. Then after the group of people was what seemed like an even larger group of police vehicles, including ~8 huge black SUVs full of police officers with giant guns.”
- Woman injured by thrown bottle — 10:10 PM: Police are investigating an assault on a woman as protesters ascended Pine returning from downtown earlier this evening. According to radio dispatches, the woman was injured near Melrose and Pine when one of the protesters threw a bottle to break the woman’s car window and hit her in the hand. Meanwhile, The Stranger says that Bill’s Off Broadway also suffered broken windows. Police continue to collect evidence and look for suspects in the areas of tonight’s damage.
- Back to normal? — 10:40 PM: Metro just announced all lines are back on normal routes and streets are open.
- Video of Walgreens incident — 11:50 PM: Chris Davis sent us his video of the moments around when vandals began breaking glass at the Pine/Broadway Walgreens. Jump to the 6:30 mark for the point when the rocks and brick went flying.
- Arrest in Cal Anderson — 12:07 AM: From earlier, @timdurkan shared this photo of a female being arrested in Cal Anderson: “professing ‘I didn’t do what ever it is they say I did’ a protester is arrested”
- Thursday, May 2 — 7:25 AM: Seattle Police have posted this account of the May Day 2013 incidents:
With the exception of a few minor scuffles between clowns and our local superheroes, the 13th Annual May Day March for Worker and Immigrant Rights was a complete success and went off without a hitch.
But two hours after that march ended, at about 6 pm, another group of demonstrators smashed windows, hurled rocks at officers and bystanders, souring an otherwise peaceful day.
Earlier in the day, police throughout downtown provided traffic control and security as thousands of people celebrated their First Amendment rights during the May Day March for Worker and Immigrant Rights.
Police were prepared to provide the same level of public safety service for a 6 o’clock demonstration, that began at Seattle Central Community College. The Capitol Hill march was unpermitted, and demonstrators did not provide the city with any information about which route the march would take through the city. According to a flyer, this march was advertised as the Anti-Capitalist/Anti-State May Day 2013 Rally and March.
Even without a permit, police worked to assist demonstrators as they marched down Broadway, providing traffic control.
The behavior of the group during the evening demonstration steadily escalated into violence. Just after 7 p.m., protestors began spraying the costumed Rain City Superheroes with silly string. Shortly after that, the window at Sun Liquor was smashed.
The march then wound its way downtown on Pike Street towards the Downtown Retail Core, where demonstrators began shoving and attacking reporters as they provided live on-air reports from the event.
Shortly after that, demonstrators ignited a smoke device, spewing orange pinkish smoke throughout the block.
After demonstrators began damaging property, throwing fireworks and rocks at officers, police formed a tactical line to prevent the marchers from moving any further into the retail core or on to the Interstate on-ramps.
After demonstrators began throwing metal rods and full water bottles at officers and business windows, officers moved in and made arrests.
When officers arrested several protesters and began loading them into transport vans, demonstrators surrounded the officers and prevented the vehicles from leaving.
Some demonstrators then began to throw large rocks and pieces of asphalt at officers.
In the interest of safety, police commanders issued clear orders to the crowd to disperse. The order was repeated three times.
Meanwhile, some demonstrators continued to hurl rocks, bottles, fireworks and a skateboard at officers.
Officers chose to deploy oleoresin capsicum, better known as OC pepper spray, to move the crowd.
It should be noted that all officers equipped with OC spray must be pepper sprayed during training before they are able to use OC in the field.
Officers gave demonstrators numerous opportunities to leave as police worked to clear downtown streets. However, a large group of demonstrators moved up Olive Way. Officers followed them using pepper spray and blast balls to keep the crowd moving.
Officers endured a barrage of rocks and bottles throughout the melee until the crowd finally did disperse around 9 p.m.
In all, 17 people were arrested for various offenses including property destruction and assault.
Eight officers sustained injuries, mostly bumps and bruises with the exception of one female officer who was struck in the knee by a fist sized rock.
A woman driving by the scene of one of the protests was injured when a protester hurled a glass bottle at her car, shattering her window. The woman sustained cuts from broken glass and was treated at the scene by medics.
Reports indicate limited damage to cars and business around the demonstration route. A complete tally of damage will be forthcoming.
The department will form a task force to investigate all criminal activity that occurred during the evening demonstration. Anyone with pictures or video clips is asked to save them.
The department will thoroughly review all force used by officers, per department policy.
- Echoes of WTO — 7:27 AM: While it was nowhere near the scale of the WTO riots in Seattle, the tactic of pushing crowds back up Capitol Hill from the downtown core on May Day 2013 also was put into motion in 1999. Here’s the CHS report on the 10-year anniversary of the WTO clashes between police and protesters and the scenes that played out on Capitol Hill.
- A quiet overnight? — 7:32 AM: It seems like East Precinct and Capitol Hill had a quiet overnight. We’re checking for any reports of newly discovered damage.
- Charges — 11 AM: The City Attorney has released details of charges of obstruction, resisting, property damage, and failure to disperse brought against six of the 17 people arrested during the May Day incidents downtown and on Capitol Hill.
City files May Day misdemeanor charges
The City Attorney’s Office on Thursday charged six individuals who were arrested in downtown Seattle and held overnight in the King County Jail. Three others who were arrested posted bail overnight and will be considered for charges at a later time.
1) Sebastian Harris, 5/22/91, obstruction of an officer and resisting arrest, at 8th and Howell
2) Gregory Husted, 4/17/91, obstruction of an officer and resisting arrest, at 400 block of Olive
3) Bryanna Stader, 6/3/85, obstruction of an officer, at 6th and Olive
4) Paul Novasky, 5/19/68, obstruction of an officer, failure to disperse and resisting arrest, at 9th and Pine
5) Justin Gonzalez, 9/21/87, obstructing of an officer, at 8th and Pine
6) Devin Bahm, 12/30/92, property damage and obstruction of an officer, at Boylston and Pine
Resisting arrest is a simple misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Obstruction of an officer, property damage and failure to disperse are gross misdemeanors, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $5,000 fine.