Hundreds march peacefully for workers’ rights on May Day

SEATTLE — A group made its way from Judkins Park in south Seattle to Westlake Park in what turned out to be a nearly three-hour march through downtown.

A lot of voices were heard in this mostly peaceful event as people advocated for worker’s rights around the globe.

Attendees said it would be a peaceful protest for a variety of causes, all of them under the umbrella of International Workers’ Day.

Chopper 7 showed hundreds of people marching through Seattle’s streets on this May Day to promote causes from workers’ rights in the Philippines to the deadly conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region.

Michael Alcantara, with the International Coalition For Human Rights In The Philippines, said workers are targeted every day. “Human rights defenders are targeted,” he said. “Environmental defenders are targeted with our taxpayer money.”

“We have more than 500 days of war, genocidal war, in the Tigray,” said Fidusm Beyene, with the Seattle Tigrayan Community. “And the Biden administration has failed to call the name genocide.”

The issue of abortion rights also took center stage.

“We know that this is a right that’s also under attack that affects working women, especially women of color and immigrant women,” said Gina Petry, with Radical Women.

Some marched to highlight a plethora of issues this May Day.

“I am out here to support workers’ rights, reproductive rights, which a lot of times are related to workers’ rights via health insurance and costs,” said Kathleen Warren, with 350 Seattle. “And then, also Ukraine.”

There was a brief scuffle with some Christian rights activists, who are regulars at these marches. But a group working for the organizers stepped in and it was soon over.

It is a day perhaps best summed up in this way.

“I feel like any time there’s a bunch of people together, doing something that is traditional in the city of Seattle,” said Nicole Grant, with 350 Seattle. “I feel like I want to be there. It feels like a good time to be with friends, too.”

And I think that’s the way a lot of people felt. They have been here before.”

The last group of Seattle police officers working to keep the peace were wrapping up after the Westlake Park rally ended just before 6:30 p.m.

When asked how to characterize this day, a police sergeant simply said, “Easy.”