Occupy West Seattlemug.jpg
NOTE: Updates to this post have been tacked on to the end throughout the day.

Warnings issued by the City of Seattle and Mayor Mike


UPDATED: May Day Violence and Destruction in Seattle (PHOTOS)

Occupy West Seattlemug.jpg
NOTE: Updates to this post have been tacked on to the end throughout the day.

Warnings issued by the City of Seattle and Mayor Mike McGinn proved at least partially accurate today, as a number of the city's May Day demonstrations took on violent and destructive elements. Various reports indicate protesters dressed in black used large sticks and pipes to break windows and wreak havoc, while others disrupted traffic, sprayed graffiti and fired paintball guns.

A call to Seattle Weekly's Keegan Hamilton indicated Seattle "superhero" Phoenix Jones was even out attempting to keep the peace.

Mayor McGinn's office released this prophetic warning late last week:

We also have evidence that other people may be coming to Seattle on Tuesday with the intention of using the public demonstrations as an opportunity to commit violence, damage property and disrupt peaceful free speech activity. There has been a significant increase in graffiti and posters alluding to violence around the May 1 events. Websites have described trainings in how to conceal weapons beneath signs and banners, and how to target police officers on horses.

In terms of damage today, the Seattle Times reports that destruction to downtown businesses and vehicles already totals in the "thousands and thousands." Attributing much of the destruction to a group known as Black Blockers (or Black Bloc--see statement from SPD below), the Times says the federal courthouse, Washington Athletic Club building and 2 Union Square building have experienced broken windows and other damages, and that windows at Niketown and several windows at the nearby American Apparel store have been busted out. Police have made arrests, though no official numbers have been released at this point.

Ashley Roe

UPDATE: Seattle Weekly intern Ashley Roe filed the following report:

What started off as a calm day of marching through the hallways of Seattle Central Community College turned into mayhem in the streets of downtown Seattle.

"The movement is trying to shut down capital for the day, which at a certain levels involves us embodying the values we'd like to see in society," says Natalio Perez, an Occupy protester and participant in today's Seattle May Day festivities

Occupy Seattle and other groups planned a whole day of rallies and marches, beginning with the SCCC student walkout and march from Capitol Hill to Westlake Park this morning.

"Students represent the future," Perez says. "Students coming forward and saying this is not the society they envisioned resonates on a large level."

A swarm of around 30 people, chanting and waving red flags, gathered in front of SCCC before raiding the school.

After gathering students, the group made its way out the north entrance of SCCC's main building and onto Broadway in their quest to make it to Westlake Center. The 50 or so individuals were enough to stop traffic and get looks from passersby with signs like "Justice, stand up, speak out" and chants of "When workers of the world are under attack, stand up fight back".

This image would only foreshadow the much larger Anti-Capitalist March, and existed on a much smaller and less destructive magnitude.

Words and photos continue on next page ...

"Red is symbolic for the blood of workers," says Jordan Martinez, a participant in the official Anti-Capitalist march. "It has been taken up by the socialist movement as a color for them, with a meaning that red is for people looking towards the future."

The group received honks of encouragement and disdain from cars being held up before making it to Westlake Center. It was the calm before the storm.

The gathering spot for all the participants to meet up before the official Anti-Capitalist March, Westlake was lively and pleasant--a complete contrast from the quick turn of events which took place in front of the Wells Fargo on Seneca Street.

A few individuals dressed as ninjas surfaced out of the masses, throwing objects at the bank and shattering the windows. The can of worms was unleashed, and the peaceful protest had turned violent.

Ashley Roe

The sound of helicopters flying overhead and police sirens going off could not shake these protesters.

The federal courthouse was next on the ninjas' list. The same group used sticks to smash away three east-side windows of the building.

Ashley Roe

The red-and-black mass that filled the entire block gazed onward and continued forward, likely knowing nothing could stop these incidents from occurring.

More windows might have been smashed if the Midnight Jack and Phoenix Jones had not shown up, insisting the protesters move onward.

As tear gas filled the air, the swarm of protestors--most of them peaceful in nature--continued back into the core of downtown. Their goal for the day now seemed certain to be overshadowed by broken property and shattered glass.

Words and photos continue on next page ...

UPDATE: Seattle Weekly's Mike Seely headed out between 2 and 2:45 p.m. and reported the aforementioned broken windows to Niketown and American Apparel, as well as several smashed car windows on Sixth Avenue, noting that a window replacement van parked onsite "basically won the Lotto." Seely also reports clusters of bike and foot cops in front of several businesses 2 to 4 blocks from the hip-hop concert at Westlake Park.

Other observations from Seely:

-- The most heavily fortified business is the Chipotle on 3rd & Pike. Burritos are part of NAFTA, so the level of protection is easily justifiable.

-- The cop out front of the Federal Building on First Avenue is armed like RoboCop, but has the physique of Louie Anderson. If he's forced to engage in a foot pursuit of longer than three blocks, he'll end up like Officer Seth Rogen in Superbad, puking after failing in his pursuit of McLovin.

-- One guy hit both a Seattle Times and Seattle Weekly paperbox with his fist. Neither plexiglass window shattered. Amar'e Stoudemire wishes he'd have been so lucky.

-- The most verbal vitriol witnessed occurred when a biker ran a red light, almost hitting a couple male pedestrians, one of whom sternly said, "Nice, dickface!"

-- Best sign: Occupy West Seattle. Sure, the acronym is OWS, but unless Husky Deli has some questionable offshore investments, I can't think of a more independently run/power-to-the-people peninsula in the free world.

Occupy West Seattle.JPG

UPDATE: Mayor McGinn has issued a civil emergency order, allowing police officers to confiscate any items that could be used as a weapon from protesters. The order only applies to downtown.

Words and photos continue on next page ...

Kayley Kirmse

The Seattle Police Department has just issued a statement about incendiary devices and bags of feces they've confiscated:

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 Olive 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 vandalism, 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.

UPDATE: City of Seattle officials have announced that an Emergency Operations Center was activated on a limited basis at 4 p.m. today "to respond to ongoing public safety concerns in downtown Seattle." The Emergency Operations Center is scheduled to in action through the remainder of tonight's commute.

UPDATE: Police now say at least six people have been arrested.

UPDATE: Now it's eight people arrested.

UPDATE: Seattle Weekly's Keegan Hamilton filed this report after attending the evening's May Day festivities:

The evening protest session was largely uneventful, but definitely colorful. There was a minor incident in front of the Starbucks at the corner of first and Pike at around 4:45 p.m., when cops took away the piece of lumber someone was using to prop up their picket sign. Earlier the anarchist crowd had been using the 2x4-type posts to smash windows, and the police weren't taking any chances. That led to an escalated situation, with lots of people getting face to face with the cops wearing riot gear and telling them to fuck off. I heard one kid (he looked young) say: "You're a fucking monster and one day they'll be no more people like you."

Angry Guy.JPG
Keegan Hamilton

Words and photos continue on next page ...

That was the general tone of things. There were lots of gawkers, lots of people with cameras, and a lot of people who seemed like they just wanted to taunt the police with relative impunity. As far as protesting goes, there was no real coherent message. Once the crowd arrived in full at Westlake Center, most folks ignored the speakers on stage and gravitated toward the cops trying to keep the street clear. This was, ostensibly, supposed to be a march about immigration reform and workers' rights, but I saw only a handful of (obvious) immigrants and they looked like they were either amused by the crazies, or just passing through. There was a brief chant of "No workers, no nations, stop deportations," but it was half-hearted and died out quickly.

Keegan Hamilton

The spectacle of it all was seemingly more important. One chant that I kept hearing was "Occupy is back, the whole world is watching," and that pretty well nailed it. In addition to the "mainstream media," there were dozens and dozens of people holding up iPads streaming video live online, or using their camera phones to take pictures.

Bankers Ain't Shit.JPG
Keegan Hamilton

SPD deserves some mild praise for the way they handled crowd control. It was absurd seeing cops toting arm-length wooden clubs guarding Starbucks and Chase Bank, but when it came to letting the demonstration proceed and then clearing the street so traffic could resume they did an admirable job. I did witness one cop who just straight up lost his temper as he was trying to push people from the street onto the curb, charging forward using his club to plow people over before his buddies pulled him back.

Of course that led to lots of "Fuck the police" shouts, and comments like, "This is fucking fascist Nazi Germany. These guys can do whatever the fuck they want." That came from a guy with a black scarf over his face, who was clearly oblivious to the massive display of free speech happening all around him.

Fuck Pigs.JPG
Keegan Hamilton

Keegan Hamilton

But there were also cops who were clearly just trying to be friendly and make it through the afternoon without getting caught on camera doing something to get them in trouble. The best exchange I overheard was a younger guy with curly black hair and olive-skin approaching a cop and asking, "Hey, when does the riot start?"

"Aw man," the cop deadpanned his reply. "You just missed it. We got that all under control now." -- Keegan Hamilton

Words and photos continue on next page ...

Funny Sign.JPG
Keegan Hamilton

Respect Existence.JPG
Keegan Hamilton

Too Many Issues.JPG
Keegan Hamilton

UPDATE: At 8 p.m. this evening the City of Seattle deactivated its Emergency Operations Center, saying crowds at Westlake had dissipated and planned protest events were resolved peacefully.

And so it ends.

Find a photo slide show from today's Occupy Hip-Hop May Day action here.

See the top fashion statements from May Day in Seattle here.

Follow the Daily Weekly on Facebook & Twitter.

comments powered by Disqus