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May Day protests deemed ‘riots’ in Portland and Olympia; only 5 arrests in Seattle

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Demonstrators threw smoke bombs, Molotov cocktails and other items at police during May Day protests in Portland, Oregon and storefront windows were broken during rowdy protests in Olympia, Washington.

Portland police arrested more than two dozen people near Portland’s Pioneer Square after a protest permit had been cancelled “due to actions of anarchists.” Police say the anarchists destroyed a police car, set several fires in the street, damaged storefront windows and attacked police.

No injuries were immediately reported.

In Olympia, police say they took nine people into custody after nine officers were injured by black-clad protesters throwing rocks and smashing windows. Police in Washington’s capital city had ordered a group of protesters to disperse Monday evening, saying “the group is not friendly” and “this is a riot.”

Police described the group as “members of a mob” wearing masks and said they were firing marbles from sling shots as well as throwing bottles and rocks and using pepper spray. Police said they had deployed crowd control devices. Olympia Police Chief Ronnie Roberts said Monday night that nine officers had been hit with objects but none were seriously injured thanks to helmets and other police gear.

In Seattle, hundreds of people chanting "Stand up, fight back," marched peacefully through downtown to support immigrants and workers on May Day.

But at a different rally later, Seattle police arrested five people, including a 26-year-old man for reportedly throwing a rock as a group of Trump supporters met up with other May Day protesters in Westlake Park.

Following several fights and confrontations in the crowd, police issued a dispersal order directing the groups to clear the park and leave the area.

Seattle Police made five arrests throughout the evening at Westlake:

A 26-year-old Olympia man for attempted assault

A 30-year-old Olympia man for unlawful possession of a weapon – a fixed-blade knife

A 51 year-old Colorado man for obstruction

A 27-year-old Seattle man arrested for obstruction

And a 19-year-old Seattle man, arrested for misdemeanor theft after he stole another demonstrator’s flag

All five men were booked into the King County Jail.

Police received no reports of property damage during the evening, and there were no injuries to officers.

In Shemanski Park in Portland — before the violence broke out — hundreds of people, including some families with children, gathered at a May Day rally and watched dancers in bright feathered headdresses perform to the beat of drums.

In both Portland and Seattle authorities had braced for demonstrations to turn disruptive, with some businesses boarding up windows and erecting barricades.

Friends Marian Drake and Martin Anderson attended the Portland rally earlier in the day and watched from a nearby park bench as they held balloons supporting the International Workers Union.

"Things are so screwed up in this country. You've got a city right here that's full of homeless people and you've got a president ...whose budget is going to cut 40 percent to the EPA and end Meals on Wheels. We don't like those kinds of things," Anderson said.

Across the street, friends Josh Elms and Ryan Falck sported red scarves and carried small Soviet flags as they prepared to march in support of workers' rights.

Elms, a teacher's aide who teaches kindergarteners how to read, said it was his first political rally and march and Trump's election drove him to participate.

"This is the first actual protest that I've participated in because this year, with the election, I was flummoxed," he said.

In Seattle, Native American dancers walked in front of the larger gathering of protesters. The march followed a rally at a city park where speakers, including Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, urged resistance to President Donald Trump's policies.

The city traditionally sees large, disruptive May Day gatherings. Last year Seattle police used pepper spray to disperse black-clad protesters. Five officers were hurt, none seriously, and police arrested nine people.

In Portland, several dozen people dressed entirely in black and wearing black bandanas and ski masks on their faces stood around the fringes of the Monday gathering at Shemanski Park holding signs that read "Radicals for Science!" and "No cuts! Tax the rich!" as police officers looked on.

Several large stores downtown had already stationed private security guards at their doors and a Starbucks along one of the anticipated march routes closed at 1 p.m. in case of violent protests.

Several hundred people, many of them immigrants, gathered for a rally on the steps of the Oregon State Capitol. Speakers in Salem, Oregon, said they would not be intimidated by any crackdowns on immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally. One protester carried a sign saying bridges should be built instead of walls, referring to President Donald Trump's plans to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown also appeared. The Democratic governor said that as long as she's in office, Oregon will be welcoming and inclusive to all those who call the state home.