The Seattle Mayor’s Office issued a press release Friday warning of potential violence, property damage and intent to disrupt peaceful protest for this Tuesday’s “May Day” marches. The release stated the office had evidence “other people may be coming to Seattle” and cites some websites have been giving instruction for how to conceal weapons and target authorities. At the same time, the mayor is stating that action is being taken to ensure the safety of peaceful protesters and the public at large.
Watch this local report on the warning:
Here’s exactly what the release said with regard to the potential for violent action (via Capitol Hill Seattle):
We also have evidence that other people may be coming to Seattle on Tuesday with the intention of using the public demonstrations as an opportunity to commit violence, damage property and disrupt peaceful free speech activity. There has been a significant increase in graffiti and posters alluding to violence around the May 1 events. Websites have described trainings in how to conceal weapons beneath signs and banners, and how to target police officers on horses. At a protest at the Port of Seattle in December 2011, several people used peaceful demonstrators as a shield to throw projectiles and incendiary devices at police officers.
Early Thursday morning an incendiary device was thrown at a bank in Columbia City. This was similar to an attack on a bank that took place in Portland late Wednesday night.
Seattle Police command staff and Mayor’s Office staff have been working with protest organizers, property owners, and other stakeholders to facilitate peaceful, constitutional demonstrations. Officers will respond appropriately to criminal acts and threats or harm directed against participants, non-participants, and property.
The May Day protests take place each year in remembrance of the 1919 Seattle General Strike, which was largely peaceful and had 60,000 port workers and thousands of other supporters advocating for higher wages. It effectively shut down the city. This year marks the 12th annual time the May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Rights have been taking place in the city. Capitol Hill Seattle reports last year’s march was peaceful.
Here’s why the annual march takes place according to one of the event organizers May 1 Seattle:
We are striking to halt the flow of capital, reclaim a tool of resistance, and unify movements against exploitation, repression, and corruption. You should join the movement and strike because: everyone else will be doing it and it’ll be fun and empowering. But more importantly, join because you’ve experienced exploitation, repression, and corruption, and you are aware of their impact around you. Join if you are forced to work and consume; if you want to have a choice for an alternative.
By general strike, we mean everyone from all walks of life halting their role in producing, consuming, and participating within the current system. We invite the precarious workers, unemployed, undocumented, students, and everyone to join.
Occupy Seattle is calling for supporters to take to the streets as well on May 1 against the “current excess of capitalism” and the “system itself.”