• SPD shows how they're preparing for May Day 2017

    By: Graham Johnson


    In a warehouse at the Port of Seattle, police officers trained Wednesday for May Day protests.

    One group of police officers played the role of aggressive demonstrators, while officers in riot gear and on bicycles practiced crowd control techniques.

    Captain Chris Fowler of SPD will again lead the department's response.

    Last year, his officers successfully corralled anti-capitalist protesters in SODO.

    Fowler says police will take cues from protesters in how they respond.

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    "As long as everything is peaceful, we're there to facilitate the march," Fowler said. "Once that turns dangerous, violent or impinges on other people's rights, then we will take a tactical response based on what the crowd is doing."

    This year's May Day follows soon after the end of President Trump's first 100 days in office.           

    Some activists, including Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, have called for general strikes.

    Fowler said he has heard of additional groups this year gathering at Victor Steinbrueck Park, 23rd and Union, and 2nd and Union, and then moving toward other, larger gatherings.

    The immigration march during the day has historically been peaceful, while the anti-capitalist march in the evening has sometimes turned violent.

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