SEATTLE - Seattle police arrested at least eight people Tuesday as May Day protests wound through Seattle and became confrontational and violent at times.
Seattle police spokesman Sean Whitcomb said the violence, which first broke out early in the afternoon, was being caused by “a small number of individuals who have infiltrated the demonstration.”
People clad in black vandalized cars and buildings downtown. Most notably, vandals struck Niketown and smashed windows with solid rods. Some drivers had their cars vandalized, including a man visiting from British Columbia who told KIRO 7 that bystanders called him a "hoser" and told him to "go back to Canada."
The vandalism prompted Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn to make an emergency declaration, which gave Seattle police officers the ability to confiscate any items that could conceivably be used as weapons. McGinn laid blame for the violence on a group of self-described anarchists using a tactic called the “Black Bloc.”
A march that went through Belltown later in the afternoon ended up near the intersection of First Avenue and Pike Street, and confrontations ensued between some demonstrators and Seattle police. Officers detained someone who threw bottles at police in the same area. They took into custody a tagger who struck near Fourth Avenue and Pike Street.
Several people dressed in black attempted to block KIRO 7 cameras as they filmed near the Pike Place Market on Tuesday evening, though it wasn’t clear if those people were part of the Black Bloc.
The protests also disrupted traffic. Several buses were rerouted or stalled indefinitely at times as demonstrators took to the streets.
An immigration rally from the Central District remained peaceful, but some traffic was disrupted when that march merged with another that was comprised of demonstrators from Westlake Park. The amalgamated group appeared to lose some enthusiasm as the evening wore on and rain moved into the area.