May Day protests

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

Justin Steyer

Seattle police insist they’re ready for whatever happens on May Day, that they are better staffed, better organized and better trained than last year.

“We’re as prepared as we can be, given our resources,” said Captain Chris Fowler, the designated commander for police May Day response.

Last year on May Day, there was widespread confusion among officers on duty about how to respond to black-clad vandals smashing windows downtown.

What’s different this time?

Reverberations from last year's May Day melee in downtown Seattle are still being felt among some activists in the Pacific Northwest.

You could say what happened after the window-smashing by black bloc anarchists on May 1, 2012 has spawned a whole new protest movement, the grand jury resistance movement.

Erin Hennessey / KPLU

Two young people who refused to testify to a grand jury about their ties to anarchists are getting out of prison today. They spent more than five months confined to a federal detention center in SeaTac until a judge ordered them released.

Erin Hennessey

Weeks have passed since the May Day protests, but Seattle police are still asking for help identifying the individuals who damaged property. The violence was largely attributed to people who've been called anarchists. So what is anarchy anyway?

Evan Hoover / KPLU

With all the broken glass, arrests, tear gas, sharp sticks and black-clad hooligans, it seems no one had any constructive fun during Seattle’s May Day protests. However, going back through our photos, we saw people having fun (at least at the moment the photo was being taken) and getting their message out.

Erin Hennessey / KPLU

City leaders in Seattle are thankful there were no serious injuries yesterday – only property damage. Mayor Mike McGinn says he regrets the vandalism, but he says officer safety and the safety of bystanders were his highest priorities.

The mayor and his police chief held a show-and-tell news conference today to highlight the variety of weapons they confiscated during the May Day demonstrations.

Evan Hoover / KPLU

With dozens of big, expensive windows smashed in downtown Seattle, eight arrests and reports that rocks were thrown through windows at Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn's home last night, the fallout from yesterday's May Day rallies and protests is just beginning to take shape.

This morning the mayor announced that all emergency measures put in place to respond to the rolling violence and anti-capitalist protests that paralyzed downtown have been lifted.

Evan Hoover / KPLU

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn evoked his emergency powers – during a day of violent protests and six arrests – ordering police to confiscate items from May Day protesters and revelers alike that could be used to damage property.

Some protesters dressed all in black used 3-inch thick sticks, which were disguised as flag poles, and tire irons to break windows in Seattle during rolling protests and marches that paralyzed downtown.

"The police officers will be approaching individuals who’ll be carrying items known to be weapons, confront them and ask them to peacefully give them up.  And if not peacefully given up, they will be confiscated," McGinn said at an afternoon press conference.

Around 4:30 p.m. officers arrested a handful of protesters after one policeman took a pole from a protester at First Avenue and Pike Street. That protester attempted to take the pole back and several others came to his aid, but officers made the arrests and pushed the others back. Both sides then faced off again in the street at the Pike Place Market until the demonstrators migrated back to Westlake Center.

(Photo gallery and videos after jump.)

Erin Hennessey / KPLU

From Mayor Mike McGinn worrying about violence to a guy on the street wondering if the ferries will run, tensions in Seattle are mounting over May Day protests.

Groups are planning May Day marches in Seattle to protest capitalism, immigration laws and labor practices, but the most consistent rallying cry is for a “general strike.” How many people will go on “strike,” how many will show up to rally and whether there will be an outbreak of violence on the streets are unknowns.

And that uncertainty appears to be jangling some nerves in the city.