May Day protests may cause mayhem

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SEATTLE - A day of protests planned as part of the annual May Day activities on Tuesday may cause mayhem in downtown Seattle.

 

One immigration protest will be held by the Committee for Immigration Reform and Social Justice that said it is demonstrating against Wells Fargo's courting of immigrant customers while at the same time offering investments in jails that detain immigrants, The Seattle Times reported.

 

"We're going to ask people to pull their money out of Wells Fargo and put it in local banks," said Juan Jose Bocanegra with the group.

 

They'll end the protest in front of the Wells Fargo Center, 999 Third Avenue, where they'll hold a rally.

 

A Wells Fargo spokesperson said the bank doesn't invest its own assests in the controversial companies, but rather sells the investment to customers as one of 150 companies in its mutual fund.

 

The Committee for Immigration Reform and Social Justice said it doesn't care.

 

"Whether they do it through bundles, whether they do it through outright purchases, they're still investing in what is the incarceration, the privitization and imprisonment of immigrants in this country," said Bocanegra.

 

The Committee plans to demonstrate peacefully and urges demonstrators not to get involved with violent fringe groups.

 

Wells Fargo said it will have ample security there to protect customers and staff, though the demonstration isn't supposed to happen until after closing time.  

 

That protest will take place in addition to Occupy Seattle demonstrations.

 

Some worry that there could be violence, but organizers say they plan only disruption.             

 

“We’re not shopping, we’re not going to work, we’re not going to school, and that’s a purely a method to disrupt commerce,” said Ian Finkenbinder with Occupy Seattle.

 

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said measures are in place to deal with the protests.

 

“We’re working with event organizers around security and safety and organizing properly.  The police will also be out on the street,” said McGinn.

 

The protests traditionally clog downtown streets during rush hour and require that buses be rerouted, making for a difficult day of driving.

 

Last week, someone tossed a Molotov cocktail at a Bank of America branch in Columbia City.