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9 Arrests, Scuffle Between Anarchist And Superhero During Seattle's May Day March

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.

Police arrested nine people during the march. A man was arrested at Sixth and Battery for allegedly throwing bottles at officers. Police deployed tear gas in response, and later said they recovered a gun on the person.

Another man was arrested soon after, at Sixth and Virginia, following a tense exchange with police.

Two more people were arrested around 10:30 p.m. near Broadway and Pine for allegedly throwing a brick at officers.

Credit Tim Durkan

Another person was arrested nearby just minutes later after protesters set fire to several trash cans in the middle of Broadway Street, prompting a swarm of police officers to move in and clear the street. 

The remaining three arrests involved assault and property damage of a car.

Several marchers were seen changing clothes along the route, some into black clothes and some back into street clothes. Police reported seeing some marchers change into suits and ties.

March Began As Two Separate Marches

Credit Tim Durkan

Police were on high alert as two separate groups of anarchist protesters gathered on Seattle's Capitol Hill, at Seattle Central Community College and at the Juvenile Detention Center, and took to the streets shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday.  

The two crowds merged briefly, then parted again, with some marchers heading downtown and others remaining on Capitol Hill.

The groups later rejoined near the Washington State Convention Center, together totaling some 300 people, and began roaming the downtown streets. Some were seen wearing bandanas and masks over their faces, and carrying banners bearing anarchist messages. 

Credit Tim Durkan

Officers on bicycles and on horses accompanied the marchers, directing traffic and watching for any signs of violence, as were seen in the past two years on May Day. 

However, no major damages resulted during this year's march, which, after 9 p.m., headed back up to Capitol Hill where the crowd thinned considerably.

Peaceful Marches

Earlier in the day, hundreds of people participated in a peaceful march in support of immigrant rights and a $15 minimum wage. The event, which began at Judkins Park in the Central District, ended at Westlake Park, where Seattle City Council member KshamaSawant addressed the crowd. 

In Olympia, some 40 people took to the streets in what ended as a peaceful May Day march.

Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.