SEATTLE -- After a rally at Judkins Park, a group demanding immigration reform and workers rights marched through Seattle streets Thursday afternoon to Westlake Park, where a May Day rally is currently underway.
Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant marched alongside several hundred, possibly thousands of people taking part in the 14th Annual May Day March for Workers and Immigrants Rights. Members of El Centro de la Raza said they would have over 70 youth, community members and staff participating in the annual event.
"(Our) message is very clear: an end to inequality and poverty, an end to deportation and full immigrants rights now. The message is loud and clear," said Sawant.
"It's not enough to have one march. People need to keep marching, people need to join the movement," Sawant added, referring to the "15 Now" campaign for $15 minimum wage.
Seattle police officers escorted the permitted peaceful march as it left Judkins Park on 20th Avenue South onto Jackson and Boren streets into downtown Seattle. It winded down Fourth Avenue to Westlake Park, where they were holding a 5 p.m. rally.
MAP: Routes of May Day marches
The guest speaker this year is Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva, who has has pushed for a policy of "deferred action" on deportation.
Organizers say the theme for 2014 is "justice for all workers and a community-based framework for dialogue on Workers and Immigrants Rights."
The march shut down traffic on multiple streets downtown. Fourth Avenue was shut down and Pine Street is scheduled to remained closed until 7 p.m. Several Metro bus routes have also been rerouted.
Violence has plagued May Day in Seattle over the past two years, with protesters and police officers squaring off in the streets.
Seattle police say there's been more anti-authoritarian rhetoric leading up to this year's May Day events, but officers are ready. Police say they found "Kill SPD" and other messages painted on buildings.