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Businesses To Receive Email Alerts As May Day Events Progress

Aaron Hushagen
Vandals broke glass during last year's May Day demonstrations.

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.

Using a communications program called EventTrac, Seattle Police Department staffers will send real-time email alerts to businesses near demonstration routes if there is any property damage or police response.

"Once the march begins, there will be regular updates on the progress of the march, the direction, and notification if anything happens," says James Sido, a spokesman with the Metropolitan Improvement District, which provides services to downtown businesses. That includes police involvement and reports of property damage.

"And also we encourage people who get EventTrac to make it a two-way conversation, so that if they have property damage at their business or if they're seeing things, they can send that to us as well," adds Sido.

Another Metropolitan Improvement District official says at least one business manager is practicing lock downs and stocking up on extra fencing materials, and that others are considering sending employees home early.