Seattle, WA: May Day riot downtown

from the press:

Tuesday’s violent May Day protests resulted in eight arrests and damage to downtown buildings that will cost tens of thousands of dollars, authorities said.

Some businesses were forced to close early and commuters were delayed for hours as the annual day of protest got out of hand.

Seattle police were already reviewing video Tuesday night, trying to identify anarchists clad in black who shattered windows and threw paint bombs.

At least one officer was hit by a bottle of urine, a baggie of feces was found left among the protests and other items confiscated by police included a pry bar, hammer, rocks and more than a dozen lighters taped together.

Eight people were arrested Tuesday, including a man who shattered a glass jar on the face shield of an officer.

The protests turned violent early, and city leaders responded with emergency action, and a more forceful police presence curbed violence during evening demonstrations. Many of the evening protestors were peaceful, but it was a core group that Mayor Mike McGinn called the “black bloc” who ruined the long-planned protest for immigrant and workers rights.

And when a heavy downpour came just before 7 p.m., hundreds began leaving the rally.

“This is a city that believes that believes in peaceful protests,” Police Chief John Diaz said. “It’s extremely unfortunate that we have small groups of people wanting to hijack these events.”

Police were not especially close as protestors shattered windows at a downtown Seattle Wells Fargo shortly after noon Tuesday, nor were they close to anarchist protestors who threw rocks through windows, shattered glass door panels and set off a smoke bomb at the old federal courthouse near Sixth Avenue and Spring Street.

The violent demonstrators calling for the end of capitalism and school were mostly teens and adults in their early 20s. Mostly young men used wooden sticks to shatter the former courthouse windows while several young women threw projectiles into federal building windows.

Diaz had briefed McGinn on the potential for violence two weeks ago, and though police expected a major disturbance, both acknowledged there was little that could be done to stop angry mobs intent on causing havoc. Police used undercover officers and hadofficers in riot gear near Westlake Center and at other locations.

Protestors threw paint bombs of florescent green and blood red, damaging businesses and sidewalks near the downtown library. Anarchists turned on photographers, and KING/5 photojournalist Richard Departee was struck in the face with a wood pole. He kept rolling with blood dripping down the left side of his neck. Another reporter, KOMO/4’s Joel Moreno, was doused with red paint near Westlake Park Tuesday evening.

After anarchists left the former federal courthouse, they turned to windows at Niketown, the Taphouse Grill, American Apparel and other locations – and police moved in faster. The Homestreet Bank in the 1300 block of Sixth Avenue had a large window shattered and a Bank of America in the 500 block of Olive Street had windows shattered during the afternoon rally.

But it was primarily the anarchist damage at the old federal courthouse and the Wells Fargo location that moved city leaders to take further action.

At 3:02 p.m., Mayor Mike McGinn signed a proclamation of civil emergency after discussions with other city leaders giving police “the authority to confiscate any weapon or implement reasonably perceived or believed to be capable of being used as a weapon.”

Click here to read the proclamation of civil emergency.

The eight arrests were made by 6:30 p.m., and those included a 19-year-old man arrested for carrying a fixed-blade knife in the 400 block of Pike Street and a 23-year-old man was arrested for vandalism in the 1300 block of Sixth Avenue.

“Some of these people think it’s fun and games out there. It isn’t,” said Seattle Police Chief John Diaz. He said officers were searching for several more suspects and that he will seek the toughest charges possible against them.

By 4:30 p.m., some downtown Seattle businesses began covering their windows with plywood to avoid potential damage. Earlier at the downtown American Eagle, customers were briefly locked inside to keep safe as black-clad anarchists vandalized property outside.

About 4:45 p.m., demonstrators were going east on Pike Street and traffic on First and Second avenues was blocked. Dozens of Seattle bike officers followed on the sides of protestors, and at least a half-dozen sticks were confiscated as potential threats.

At about 5:30 p.m., lines of police cleared the area around Fourth Avenue and Pine Street, and most angry demonstrators had only continual verbal jabs. A leader of the Occupy event at Westlake Park told marchers not to move when police tried to relocate them.

“Same struggle same fight, Occupy and immigrant rights,” protestors chanted as they marched south on Third Avenue to University Street.

The march for immigrant and workers’ rights went Tuesday evening from Judkins Park and met the Occupy group to a roar of cheers about 6:15 p.m. near Fourth Avenue and Columbia Street. That May Day march from Judkins had been planned for week and McGinn said that demonstration of the First Amendment was different from the violence seen earlier.

That rally lasted for about another hour with no arrests and no instances of the violence seen earlier. The majority of demonstrators were peaceful at that and on earlier marches, but it was the crowd of nearly 100 black-clad anarchists that created problems.

“We’re sorry this had to happen in this beautiful city,” said McGinn, who stressed the long-organized May Day protests often occur without violent infiltrators.

    • Wells Fargos: smashed (Seattle Times originally reported 5 smashed–all downtown branches. In reality, other branches closed after this one was smashed.)
    • Taphouse Grill: smashed
    • Federal Court House: smashed, smokebombed, small fire set
    • Multiple Starbucks: smashed and painted
    • American Apparel at 6 and Pike, windows smashed and slogan written: “Death to capitalism,” small fire set
    • Bank of America at 500 Olive: smashed
    • Homestreet Bank at 1300 block of 6th Ave: windows smashed
    • NikeTown at 6th and Pike: windows smashed, smokebombed, paintbombed
    • Multiple vehicles in 500 block of Seneca, and in 1500 block of 6th Ave: windows smashed, tires slashed, spray painted
    • Barney’s New York- slogan painted: “proletarianism”
    • Verizon shop: smashed
    • Nordstrom corporate office: smashed
    • HSBC bank: smashed



  • Goldy




  • Kelly O



The attack on American Apparel.

  • Brendan Kiley
  • The attack on American Apparel.



Another photo of the damage-in-progress at American Apparel.

  • Brendan Kiley
  • Another photo of the damage-in-progress at American Apparel.



Marching to the courthouse.

  • Brendan Kiley
  • Marching to the courthouse.



The courthouse.

  • Brendan Kiley
  • The courthouse entrance.


1:00 pm: KIRO has live, ongoing video coverage here.


Broken windows at NikeTown.

  • Kelly O
  • Broken windows at NikeTown.



Paint splatters at NikeTown.

  • Brendan Kiley
  • Paint splatters at NikeTown.



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