Windows shattered as protesters march in downtown Seattle
By CASEY MCNERTHNEY, SEATTLEPI.COM STAFF
Updated 01:57 p.m., Tuesday, May 1, 2012
May Day of protests and traffic jams quickly turned to vandalism and chaos Tuesday in downtown Seattle.
Windows of storefronts and cars were smashed. And an apparent fire bomb was thrown at the entrance of the old federal courthouse, where windows were also broken. Police responded with pepper spray and, reportedly, tear gas.
A small group of self-described anarchists dressed in black smashed windows at a Wells Fargo building at Fourth Avenue and Seneca Street during a march begining at Westlake Plaza. They also sprayed red paint on the building.
Some protesters tried to stop the vandalism, but were ignored.
About three-dozen protesters dressed in black turned their attention to a Porche, busting its windows. Windows were broken at Niketown, the Taphouse Grill, American Apparel and other locations.
The march moved close to Interstate 5 at Sixth and Seneca as the protesters attacked and harassed news photographers and others there. In some cases, they threw paint bombs.
Police moved in on protestors after about 20 minutes, using pepper spray. Officers used batons and bicycles to push the black-clad protesters away from the storefronts.
Protesters, however, began to disappear into the crowd. Some of them reportedly removed their black clothing to blend in.
Police closed Pine Street between Fourth and Sixth avenues.
Seattle police prepared for for violent acts by anarchists Tuesday, and transportation officials said more than 2,000 people were expected to march downtown, causing backups.
A scheduled march is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.
Marchers are expected to walk west from Judkins Park at 5 p.m. to the Wells Fargo building on Third Avenue between Madison and Marion streets. Seattle police officers plan to escort the marchers, and Second Avenue could be closed during the rally. The May Day event is one of dozens that occurs annually around the world in support of immigrant and worker rights.
An Occupy Seattle-sponsored General Strike is also planned, as were rallies throughout the day at Westlake Park. Metro may reroute buses if streets are blocked or closed. Updates will be posted on the Metro website and through its Twitter feed.
For days, city officials have warned that activists bent on violence planned to take part in the event, which had been relatively peaceful in years past.
Last week, Mayor Mike McGinn spokesman Aaron Pickus cautioned that activists may come to Seattle "with the intention of using the public demonstrations as an opportunity to commit violence, damage property and disrupt peaceful free speech activity."
Earlier this month, local anarchists held a Cascadian Anarchist Olympics in downtown Seattle. The three-day event included sessions on how to deal with "pigs on horses," a slingshot shooting gallery and a session on tear gas.
Last week, an incendiary device was thrown at a bank in Columbia City, similar to an attack at a Portland bank the night before. No injuries were reported in the Seattle case.
Seattle police have been working with protest organizers to try and prevent criminal acts and property damage, similar to damage done during some Occupy protests.
Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Hundreds-gather-to-protest-in-downtown-Seattle-3525107.php#ixzz1ted7EYtA