Multiple arrests on Capitol Hill and as protesters gathered late in the day in Cal Anderson Park overshadowed Seattle’s annual May Day march for worker and immigrant rights.
UPDATE: SPD says 14 people were arrested as of 7 PM Saturday night. Additional arrests were made in continuing unrest overnight.
CHS reported here on the 2021 march that stepped off from the Central District around noon Saturday in an effort organizers said was part of a push for worker rights along with “Health Care, Inclusive Immigration Reform, Public Safety Reform, Homelessness, Housing and Jobs.” “For us to make considerable gains we must ensure the right to organize,” organizers from El Comite wrote.
A few hundred people were part of the main march — a much smaller crowd under continuing pandemic restrictions. Meanwhile, the day was also busy with several other marches and demonstrations crossing the city and Capitol Hill including a protest calling for the end of war atrocities in the Tigray region of Ethiopia where a conflict continues to grow and groups of antifa protesters.
The city said Friday “unrestricted events” like marches can’t adequately be controlled for the number of participants and social distancing so it did not issue permits and was not officially closing streets or providing planned Seattle Police “First Amendment support” for May Day demonstrations but a spokesperson said City Hall is aware of “multiple events” planned to take place over the weekend.
Protests away from the march remain a concern for city officials and large global chains that are frequently targeted like Starbucks and Nike after past clashes spiraled into riots as police moved in on crowds over property damage and to clear streets. The city has been mostly quiet following the large march in recent years. But in 2016, clashes in downtown, Belltown, Pioneer Square marred the day while 2015 marked the last time May Day protests, property damage, and Seattle Police crowd control efforts were centered on Capitol Hill.
Saturday, a anti-capitalist and anti-cop group dressed in “black bloc” marched on Broadway and became embroiled with law enforcement just before 2 PM after a large contingent of police responded and moved on the crowd outside the E Olive Way Starbucks following reports of property damage.
Police reported two arrests. CHS confirmed that at least two employees of Glo’s across the street from the scene were taken into custody during the chaos. A picture from a resident near the scene showed E Olive Way filled with police as people were being taken into custody and a crowd including Glo’s employees looked on. It’s not clear if the employees were the two people SPD said had been detained or if there were additional arrests.
Video posted by SPD showed police continuing to follow the group after the E Olive Way arrests.
Officers have issued a public safety order to this group, which has continued to place hazards in the roadway. Police are making an arrest at 7/Olive. #MayDaySea https://t.co/i22eIY8kB1 pic.twitter.com/G4HwDrJ4h2
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) May 1, 2021
As the main march ended its route downtown, a black bloc group was reported marching up from Denny back to Capitol Hill where a series of clashes with police followed as well as multiple arrests reported in Cal Anderson.
Around 4:30 PM, police reported the crowd at Broadway and Pine throwing bottles, rocks, and paint at officers and said that a dispersal order was announced as two more arrests were made.
Police said the crowd threw “flares, bottles, eggs, paint and a bag of unidentified liquid” at officers and a passenger in a vehicle on Denny threw a bottle through the open window of an SPD vehicle, striking the driver. SPD said that person was also arrested along with four more in the Cal Anderson chaos that followed after police moved on marchers as they gathered in the park after marching through the city.
The clashes were well away from the East Precinct at 12th and Pine where crews this week installed a new, tall, black fence rising outside Capitol HIll’s East Precinct behind the concrete barrier installed last summer after CHOP. The building was briefly locked down during the afternoon and early evening arrests.
Handful of arrests in Cal Anderson this May Day afternoon. pic.twitter.com/Dy186E1gU8
— matt (@mmitgang) May 2, 2021
[4:48pm] SPD rides over the Black Lives Matter mural on Pine St. pic.twitter.com/ghTHkn0W9M
— Mike Scaturo (@mikescaturo) May 2, 2021
As of early evening, SPD reported eight arrests across Capitol Hill, the bottle thrower on Denny, and at least one more downtown. Jail records showed one person booked for investigation of assault, four for obstruction, and one more for pedestrian interference.
UPDATE: As of 7 PM, 14 were reported arrested “for crimes ranging from property destruction to assault and reckless driving” by Seattle Police:
- A 35-year-old for obstruction at Summit Ave and E Olive Way.
- A 37-year-old for property destruction in the Summit Ave and E Olive Way.
- A 25-year-old for obstruction in the Summit Ave and E Olive Way.
- A 22-year-old for assault, obstruction and resisting arrest in the Summit Ave and E Olive Way.
- A 26-year-old for pedestrian interference at 7th Ave and Olive St.
- A 36-year-old for assault at 4th Ave and Bell St.
- An 18-year-old for malicious mischief at Broadway and E. Howell St.
- A 28-year-old for reckless driving at Harvard Ave and Pine St.
- A 23-year-old for property destruction at Denny Way and E. Howell St.
- A not-yet-identified individual, for assault and resisting arrest at 11th Ave and Olive St.
- A 35-year-old for assault at Cal Anderson Park.
- A 26-year-old for obstruction at Cal Anderson Park.
- A 25-year-old for obstruction at Cal Anderson Park.
- A 25-year-old for obstruction at 11th Ave and Pine St.
A Seattle Fire aid unit was called to the East Precinct just after 5 PM for a person with a non life-threatening injury. We don’t know if it is related to the protest arrests.
Meanwhile, marching and protest was continuing into the night as the city warned drivers to avoid the area around 11th and Pine where a crowd was gathering.
UPDATE 5/2/2021 5:55 AM: Police made additional arrests overnight as protest activities continued around the East Precinct. Video showed one person being taken into custody in an incident after a driver drove their vehicle through a group and protesters scattered on E Pine. Later in the night, police were reported making arrests in a clash with protesters above 12th Ave across from the precinct. At least six people were booked into King County jail for investigation of assault, malicious mischief, obstruction, and property damage.
UPDATE x2: Police say one protester was injured after they reportedly “jumped on the hood” of a vehicle driven through the crowd on E Pine and were carried a half block before falling to the pavement:
At about 2300 hours, while they blocked the intersection, a vehicle driven by an elderly male approached the group while driving E/B on Pine. The rioters blocked his path and when he tried to drive around them, one of the rioters jumped on the hood of his vehicle. The driver attempted to get away, but the rioter hung onto the hood. He eventually drove E/B on Pine. At about mid-block between 12th and 13th the rioter fell off of the hood. The rioter was evaluated at the scene by SPD Medics and SFD Medics. No major injuries were reported. The rioter was arrested and transported to the West PCT. They eventually claimed their head hurt and was transported to King County Jail via AMR. Later we developed probable cause to arrest a male for property destruction (painting the wall of the E. PCT). He was eventually arrested as well and transported to the W. PCT.
— Hanna (@HannaSinTwitta) May 2, 2021
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