May Day events

Tim Durkan

Seattle police arrested nine people during an unpermitted May Day march that involved a scuffle between an anarchist and a man dressed as a superhero, wardrobe changes by the anti-capitalist marchers and no major property damage.

The fight between the anarchist and the man in costume broke out near Fifth and Pike when the anarchist sprayed silly string at the man, who responded with a punch to the face. The incident lasted only a few minutes before police intervened, and the march resumed with protesters chanting "F--- the police!" and setting off fireworks.

Tim Durkan

Hundreds of people marched from Seattle's Judkins Park to Westlake Park in support of immigrant rights and a $15 minimum wage as part of the annual May Day rally.

Police officers on bicycles and horses rode alongside the marchers, who chanted in unison, "Move, ICE! Get out the way!" and "Si, se puede!" Some held signs that read “stop deportations and 15 now!” in Spanish in support of a $15 minimum wage. 

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

What’s the best tool when you have boisterous crowds mixing with police officers in a dense urban area? For the Seattle Police Department, it might be bikes. SPD officers took a refresher course last week on managing demonstrations on bicycles. Captain Chris Fowler, Commander of the West Precinct, said when the department trades tactical tips with other agencies, that’s what they always want to know more about.

Aaron Hushagen

As May 1 approaches, downtown business owners are getting ready. In recent years, factions of May Day protesters have broken windows and taken over the streets. Police officers have responded with tear gas and bike barricades. Anarchists have indicated they plan to march again Thursday.

Wikimedia Commons

Last week’s tumultuous May Day protests got many of us wondering: What is May 1 all about, anyway?

It’s been a workers’ holiday in Europe for years, but when did it become a big deal in the U.S.?

SUNY Empire State College history professor Jacob Remes says last week’s hubbub—from the union involvement to the spotlight on immigration, to the anarchist presence and police response—all fit right in to May Day’s radical history.

Justin Steyer / KPLU

When mayhem broke out late May Day, Phoenix Jones and his wife were having dinner at a restaurant.

Jones, having attended earlier events with his sidekicks, had thought the day would end peacefully.

“All of a sudden, the phone trips and there’s a riot going on,” he said.

Jones and his wife, also a self-claimed superhero who goes by Purple Reign, rushed to the car to suit up, then hit the streets. Reign was in full costume, but Jones only had on his bulletproof vest instead of his full signature garb.  

Bellamy Pailthorp

Thousands of people gathered in Seattle for the May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Rights. So we asked some of them: What inspired you to march?

You can also view their photos and answers on our Pinterest page

Justin Steyer

Thousands of people marched from Seattle's Judkins Park to the federal building downtown on May Day to show support for workers' rights and immigration reform. 

You can view additional photos on our Flickr page

Justin Steyer

A planned rally and march for workers and immigration reform progressed without interruptions by anarchists Wednesday, easing fears of another violent May Day.

Thousands of people gathered at Judkins Park, behind St. Mary's Church, for the Rally for Workers and Immigrant Rights at 1 p.m. Several unions were present, as were some representatives of the Occupy movement. Many people were displaying the flags of U.S. and Mexico, as well as signs urging comprehensive immigration reform. 

A number of events are planned for May Day in Seattle and Olympia. The interactive map above and the timeline below list the planned rallies and marches.

Red markers on the map denote starting or ending points of planned marches. Blue markers indicate sites of planned rallies. Green markers denote places where notable events took place on May Day 2012. (View full-size map