Story Summary

May Day

Violence rocked Seattle on May 1, 2012, when vandals and self-described anarchists damaged buildings, parked cars. Police intervened.

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Local News
05/01/13

Seattle superheroes on May Day patrol

SEATTLE — Breaking free from the cover of night, self-proclaimed superhero Phoenix Jones is out in broad daylight keeping Seattle safe on May Day.

jones2“It’s pretty clear what I’m here for when I put this suit on,” Jones said. “I have to understand people will respond to me that way because they know what I stand for.”

Armed with all kinds of gadgets and gizmos, Jones and his league of not very ordinary gentlemen patrolled the streets.

One superhero said, “We’re not here to start trouble. We’re here in case there’s trouble.”

And they will stop at nothing to protect you.

El Cabellero said, “As a Knight Templar, I was sworn to lay down my life in defense of all men women no matter what faith.”

Jones and his crew pounded the pavement, identifying potential anarchist targets for this year’s May Day marches. Because Phoenix feels the city needs it.

With every step he takes heads turn.

“I feel protected,” one Phoenix Jones fan said.  “I feel safe. Someone out there has to do it.”

His fans adore him.

“I think he’s an inspiration right now,” another fan proclaimed.  “Especially a community like we have. We got so much killing and mayhem. We need something to look at bro. I don’t care if he’s black, white, yellow or green.”

Phoenix Jones won’t stop until he feels the streets are safe for everyone.

Local News
05/01/13

Local businesses worry about being May Day targets

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(Photo credit: Josh Trujillo/seattlepi.com)

SEATTLE — The focus on May Day protest is supposed to on workers and immigration rights, but another group, the Puget Sound Anarchists, are making it about capitalism.

The group of anarchists will be marching Wednesday at 6 p.m. and plan to gather at Seattle Central Community College at the corner of Broadway and Pine Street. The group’s flyer for the march states it is “against capitalism, all nation-states and borders.”

Last year during the May Day marches, anarchists were blamed for damaging store fronts and turning what was a peaceful march into chaos. Now, some nearby businesses in Capitol Hill  are worried about the rally becoming dangerous and while they hope for the best, they are expecting the worst.

The owner of Domino’s on Broadway said he will be ready to videotape threats or attacks on his business. He has also warned employees to not obstruct the march and to keep their safety in mind.

There is no set route for the anarchists rally. We will be covering the marches and have updates throughout the day and night.

Local News
05/01/13

May Day 2013: So far…

SEATTLE — Police spent weeks planning for this year’s May Day march, and it’s that planning and preparation they say will help prevent violent, destructive protests.

“We have officers out that are going to support the immigration march. We are going to set the environment so that people can safely express their free speech rights and if any individuals decide to commit crimes, then we will investigate and if possible make arrests,” Seattle Police Capt. Chris Fowler said.

It is expected that about 10,000 protesters will be present at the march.

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Fowler held a press conference in West Lake Park at noon Wednesday and said officers are well organized and ready for any challenge.

“In spite of everything that has been going on over the last year, the Seattle Police Department is very professional. The officers that are out here doing their job understand what the expectations are and they meet those every single day, so they are really doing what they do all the time,” he said.

Seattle Police do not want a repeat of last year’s chaos, where anarchists targeted businesses and cars with sticks and rocks. And more than the police are preparing for the worst — two U.S. Bank downtown locations announced they are closing at 3 p.m. today.

Some who work near where the chaos broke out last year hope that police can keep the peace.

“I hope that works out for them, but I think we need to let them do their job and whatever it takes to stop the violence, I don’t think they should be criticized for doing their jobs like they were last year,” one woman said.

The focus on the May Day protest is on workers and immigration rights; the march is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. at Saint Mary’s Church on 20th Avenue and South Lane Street.  Protesters will head down to the Federal building on 2nd Avenue and then cross Jackson, King and Pike streets. The march will eventually head into the heart of the downtown.

A group called the Puget Sound Anarchists planned another march at 6 p.m. Wednesday on Capital Hill. Anarchists are planning to gather at Seattle Central Community College. There is no word on where that march will lead. Police said they are aware of this march and will monitor the area.

SEATTLE — Seattle police have spent weeks planning for this year’s 13th annual May Day march.  And it’s that planning and preparation they say will help prevent violent, destructive protests.

“We will take action against any crime that’s committed, specifically with respect to May Day,” Seattle Police Department Captain Chris Fowler said.

Officials do not want a repeat of last year’s chaos, where anarchists targeted businesses and cars with sticks and rocks.  Police have beefed up their presence around town.  Around 10,000 protesters are expected at this years march.

mayday13Some who work nearby where the chaos broke out last year, hope police will keep the peace.

“I hope that works out for them but I think we need to let them do their job and whatever it takes to stop the violence, I don’t think they should be criticized for doing their jobs like they were last year,” one woman said.

The focus in the May Day protest is on workers and immigration rights.  The march begins at 3 p.m. Wednesday at Saint Mary’s Church on 20th Avenue and South Lane Street.  Protesters will head down to the Federal Building on 2nd Avenue, crisscrossing Jackson, King and Pike streets.  The march will eventually head into the heart of downtown.

A group called the Puget Sound Anarchist planned another march at 6 p.m. Wednesday on Capital Hill. Anarchists will gather at Seattle Central Community College.  There is no word on where that march will go.

SEATTLE — Seattle police say they have spent weeks planning for this year’s 13th annual May Day March.  And it’s that planning and preparation  they say, which will help prevent violent, destructive protests.

“We will take action against any crime that’s committed, specifically with respect to May Day,” Seattle Police Department Captain Chris Fowler said.

Officials do not want a repeat of last year’s chaos, where anarchists targeted businesses and cars with sticks and rocks. Police have beefed up their presence around town, on foot and in patrol cars.Around 10,000 protesters are expected at this years march.

The focus in the May Day protests is on workers and immigration rights. The march begins at 3 p.m. Wednesday at Saint Mary’s Church on 20th Avenue and South Lane Street.  Protesters will head down to the Federal Building on 2nd Avenue, crisscrossing Jackson, King and Pike Streets.  The march will eventually head into the heart of downtown.

mayday13Last year, police didn’t start planning for the march until a week prior.  Officers were scattered and in many cases unclear about their orders for handling the unruly and sometimes violent crowd.

But officials promised that wouldn’t be the case this year.

Rich O’Neill, the president of the Seattle Police Officers Guild said, “I think this year plans have been clearly communicated.  I think everyone is on the same page, but the officers can handle whatever comes.”

SEATTLE — May Day is just a few hours away now and no one knows quite what to expect.

The biggest fear is a replay of what happened last year, but police insist what happened then won’t happen this time.

In downtown Seattle everything is calm and Seattle police hope it stays that way through Wednesday.

Already there is an increased police presence, on the street in cars and on foot.

Those who work, live and play downtown are already concerned about what might happen.

Most still remember what happened on May Day last year.

“What gives any group the right to demonstrate in any way violently? I mean whatever their cause, whatever their message, do it peacefully, do it nicely,” downtown Seattle Resident Leta Goldberg said.

Seattle police say this year will be different.

“The officers basically follow orders and do what they are told.  They’re ready go too though. I mean I think this year plans have been clearly communicated.  I think everyone is on the same page, but the officers can handle whatever comes,” Seattle Police Officers’ Guild President Rich O’Neill said.

Police say they’ve heard the internet chatter about possible trouble, individuals called on to take direct action and possible violence.

“They want to take direct action against whatever target they deem appropriate so to us direct action means breaking windows, causing property damage and potentially crimes against persons. We will take action against any crime that’s committed, specifically with respect to May Day,” Seattle Police Captain Chris Fowler said.

That same sense of determination is also evident in Olympia where protests are common and expected and protected, as long as they are peaceful.

One group of protesters held a meeting Monday night and although there is no credible threat of violence in the capitol city say police they won’t leave anything to chance.

Every available officer will be on May Day duty.

“Peaceful protests are fine. Our concern is a criminal element getting mixed up in legitimate protests and causing trouble and for those folks we want them to know that won’t be tolerated. We have our department all on duty that day and we’ve been working with our partners in the neighboring jurisdictions, Thurston County Sheriff’s Office and the WSP so that we have enough people on hand should we need them,” Olympia Police spokesperson Laura Wohl said.

A year after riots in downtown Seattle, police say they’re ready for anything that might happen on this May Day. But what may happen is anyone’s guess.

mayday1The Seattle Police Department, however, advised residents and commuters on its blog that they will see a large crowd winding its way through the Central District and downtown Seattle Wednesday afternoon and evening as part of the 13th Annual May Day March for Worker and Immigrant Rights.

The rally will leave Judkins Park—at 21st and S. Norman Street in the Central District—at 3 p.m. and head north on 20th Avenue S., winding through downtown to the Jackson Federal Building on 2nd Avenue and Marion Street.

A map of the march route is above. Here’s where demonstrators will be marching:

  • Along 20th Ave. S to South Jackson Street
  • West on South Jackson to 4th Ave
  • North on 4th Ave to Union Street
  • West on Union Street to 3rd Ave
  • South on 3rd Ave to Columbia Street
  • West on Columbia Street to 2nd Ave
  • North on 2nd Ave to the Jackson Federal Building (915 2nd Ave) 

The march is expected to arrive at the Jackson building at about 4:30 p.m.

At 6 p.m., a second no-permit march will leave Seattle Central Community College. There is no official route map for the second march.

There will be “a large number of uniformed officers” around Wednesday’s  rallies, the department said..

OLYMPIA — The countdown to May Day is on.

Local police are hoping for the best, and planning for the worst.

CAPITOL photoAt a small coffee shop on 5th and Water in downtown Olympia, protesters, some who consider themselves anarchists, gathered for a strategy session… May Day planning, but they didn’t let the media in and declined to send somebody out to talk with us.

We did talk with Mark McElroy across the street.

He’s not a protester but he supports their right to do so.

“I think it’s important for people to have the right to protest.  That’s one of the cornerstones of American democracy is protest so I think that’s a valuable component of being an American citizen,” Mark McElroy said.

Valuable component as long as it doesn’t go too far.

Police fear the violence that erupted in Seattle last year.

“Peaceful protests are fine. Our concern is a criminal element getting mixed up in legitimate protests and causing trouble and for those folks we want them to know that won’t be tolerated,” Olympia Police department spokesperson Laura Wohl said.

Last year on May 1st, Seattle, anarchists interrupted a peaceful protest, clashing with police, leaving a trail of damage through downtown.

Seattle police say they won’t let it happen again.

“Yeah I think we`re ready. We’ve been planning this for approximately five weeks. We’ve had several meetings,” Seattle police Captain Chris Fowler said.

In Olympia there have been no permit applications for parks or for streets.

Still Olympia police are taking no chances.

Every available officer will be on duty Wednesday.

“We’re making sure we have enough staff here.  We have our department all on duty that day and we’ve been working with our partners in the neighboring jurisdictions, Thurston County Sheriff’s Office and the WSP so that we have enough people on hand should we need them,” Wohl said.

“The crackdowns I think sometimes are overstated and I think they are heavy handed,” McElroy said.

“We’d rather be prepared and bored than not prepared and have something happen,” Wohl said.

So far there is only one permitted march for downtown Seattle.

That group is scheduled to meet at one and then march by around 3.

Police will allow un-permitted marches, but admit those might be tougher to handle because there will not be a set route.

The captain in charge of the Seattle police response team on May Day says he ‘thinks’ they are ready for Wednesday.

SPD has been planning for this year’s event and will have a heavy police presence downtown.

may day prepsAnarchists caused thousands of dollars of damage in downtown Seattle on May 1st, 2012. This year police say they think they are ready.

“Yea, I think we’re ready,” Captain Chris Fowler said. ‘We’ve been planning this for approximately five weeks. We’ve had several meetings.’

On Wednesday, there will be a heavy police presence in downtown Seattle. Cops will also be guarding a number of potential targets like the Goldman Sachs building and Nike Town.

“They want to commit crimes,” Fowler said. “They want to take direct action against whatever target they deem appropriate.”

Sticks and items used to hold signs will be allowed until they are used for vandalism or violence, but police won’t be the only one’s patrolling the streets. Phoenix Jones and the Rain City Superhero team will have a heavy presence.

“I decided I would call in my different teams,” Phoenix Jones said.  “I’ve got super hero teams in different states. So, I’ve called in the Montana team, California, Oregon team. I think even Idaho. There should be 24 to 25 of us.”

Phoenix says his group of masked men might join forces with Seattle PD and the two sides will meet soon to discuss tactics.

“They said come on down and talk to us,” Jones said. “We’d love to tell you what our plan is and you can get on board.”

And that plan is to prevent what happened last year from happening again.

Captain Fowler said, “We will take action against any crime that’s committed in specifically in respect to May Day crimes against property and more importantly against persons.”

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