May Day Seattle: Protesters March, Rally And Riot
Editor's Note: This story will be updated through the afternoon and evening as May Day events and protests continue.
10 p.m. Update: Events took an ugly turn late. What had been a day of mostly peaceful protest and demonstration evolved into a three-block rock-throwing riot in Capitol Hill at 9 p.m. Three Seattle Police officers were slightly injured and protesters set fire to trash cans.
The clash with officers escalated when protesters broke windows in area businesses and police began using pepper spray and flash grenades.
KPLU photographer Tim Durkan said that the self-proclaimed 'anti capitalists' made their way through the streets of Capitol Hill chanting anti police slogans, knocking over garbage cans and eventually smashing windows at Urban Outfitters and QFC.
While no employees were injured, nerves were frayed. Durkan said he was assaulted when one of the the masked rioters grabbed, threatened me and tried to his camera.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray defended the rights of peaceful protestors but condemned the violence against police officers. "Tonight we saw assaults on officers and senseless property damage which cannot be tolerated," he said in a statement Friday evening.
6 p.m. Update: Observers are reporters that the gathering at the courthouse is mostly peaceful. One man was arrested for throwing a rock. KPLU's Jennifer Wing has this update:
4 p.m. Update: The Seattle Times is reporting that as marchers head north on Boren Avenue, the protest appears to be moving smoothly.
Starbucks isn't taking any chances however. Its flagship Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in Capitol Hill is boarded up just in case.
3 p.m. Update: Approximately 2000 protesters have begun their march from Judkins Park to the downtown federal courthouse Friday afternoon. Led by traditional Mexican folk dancers they changed, "Viva la Revolucion!" Getting through downtown seattle right now is difficult. The annual march for immigrant and workers' rights is underway right now. KPLU's Jennifer wing is there and has this report.
Update, 1 p.m.: More than 100 people gathered at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park for a “Black Lives Matter” rally in response to unrest in Baltimore over a suspect who died in police custody. (UPDATE: Six police officers have been charged Friday in the death of Freddie Gray.)
Dasedric Watts came from Everett. He says it's important to speak out about police killings of black people, even if they happen on the other side of the country.
"It's important to make a statement anywhere," Watts said. "I happen to be in Seattle so I'm going to make the statement here. It's happening all across the world."
And he was glad to hear that criminal charges have been brought against officers in the death of Freddie Gray, in Baltimore.
"Success is not success until we start seeing police officers that kill black people pay for their crime," he said. "That's when it's going to be a success."
Jennifer Hicks, of Seattle, is biracial. She said it was important to attend the rally because silence perpetuates problems.
"I'm half African American," she said. "It can be confusing to be mixed. There are these people who are fighting against these people, and they're both me."
Hicks says as she watches events unfold in Baltimore and elsewhere, she feels more compelled to speak up.
"To be silent is to be in agreement," she said. "The racial issues in this country are happening everywhere, even here."
And she hopes people take a deep breath, listen, and learn.
"There are plenty of people willing to talk with you and have an open discussion," Hicks said. "Sometimes you've got to be a little bit uncomfortable to learn new things. Don't immediately feel attacked. Try and figure out where each other are coming from."