At least 9 arrested in Seattle anti-capitalist march


by KING 5 News and Associated Press

Posted on May 1, 2014 at 9:18 PM

Updated Friday, May 2 at 12:46 PM

SEATTLE -- At least nine people were arrested in a May Day march by anti-capitalists Thursday evening in what turned out to be a relatively peaceful protest compared to years previous in Seattle.

Overall, the Downtown Seattle Association praised police officers, saying they did an excellent job of keeping the peace and preventing property damage in comparison to last couple years.

MORE: Minute-by-minute updates on May Day blog

Violence related to unpermitted protests by anarchists has plagued May Day in Seattle over the past two years, with protesters and police officers squaring off in the streets. But this year, the march was mostly peaceful and without major incident, possibly due to a heavier police presence and rising temperatures that soared into the 80s.

However, Kate Joncas, the downtown association president, believes city leaders and the community need to figure out a better way to use resources on May Day.

"It cost us millions of dollars of people kind of wandering around for five hours in an unfocused, unsanctioned march in the evening. I would have put that money on youth employment this summer," said Joncas.

Self-proclaimed anti-capitalists gathered at Seattle Central Community College around 6 p.m. and proceeded to march through the streets of Capitol Hill and downtown Seattle, joining others who had gathered at the juvenile detention center.

A group of about 20-30 police officers on bicycles began following the group; as the evening wore on, more officers in gear joined in, creating a heavy police presence.

The march heated up as the march made its way into downtown Seattle. Police said suspects threw bottles at some officers and some Metro buses windows were smashed. Officials said there was some property damage, but nothing to the extent of previous May Day marches.

Seattle police officers recovered a gun from a person who was arrested in the crowd. Police said a total of nine people were arrested Thursday.

One police officer was hurt, but is expected to be ok.

Police tweeted a skirmish broke out between anti-capitalists and people dressed as "superheroes."

A driver in a convertible got caught in the march was surrounded by protesters. His car sustained some minor damage, but he was not injured.

Some three hours and several miles later, the group gradually dwindled down to about 100 protesters. They walked back to Seattle Central Community College, where almost an equal number of police officers were waiting.

People camped out in the middle of the intersection at Broadway and Pine. Some set fire to a garbage can of trash; police and firefighters quickly put the fire out.

Earlier Thursday afternoon, another group, El Comite, held a permitted and peaceful march and rally in Seattle, bringing several messages, from higher wages to workers rights to immigration reform. Police officers escorted the demonstrators as they marched down from the Central District to Westlake Park.

Seattle Central College shut down the entire campus at 5 p.m.Thursday, along with several neighborhood businesses, in light of last year's demonstrations and vandalism around the college.

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.