• Seattle braces for May Day 2018

    By: KIRO 7 News Staff

    Updated:

    SEATTLE - May Day is largely known as a day of mass demonstrations for labor rights in cities across the nation.

    While there is a large peaceful march every year in Seattle, it has largely become a day known for destructive and sometime violent marches.

    KIRO 7 will have live team coverage of May Day with livestreams of the demonstrations on kiro7.com and live coverage on air at 5, 6, 7, and 11p.m.  We’ll also break into programming for any major developments. Watch on air or here: kiro.tv/LiveNews

    Download the KIRO 7 app to get alerts about traffic impacts from May Day demonstrations.

    When, where are May Day marches in Seattle?

    The big March for Workers and Immigrants' Rights will kick off with a rally at 2:30 pm. at Judkins Park The march toward downtown Seattle will begin at 3:30 p.m. and end downtown at Second Ave, between Spring and Madison Streets, according to the site for the event.

    >> See photos of the 2017 May Day protests here
    >> May Day: The history and why people are protesting
    >> Download the KIRO 7 News app for breaking alerts throughout May Day 

    This year's march will focus on Immigration and Customs Enforcement activity in Washington State.

    The march in Seattle is among several coordinated events happening in communities across the state, including Olympia, Yakima, and Tacoma.

    Here's a list of more May Day events in Seattle.

    What is not known, however, is where and when other May Day marchers, who are known for vandalism and sometimes violence, will appear in the Seattle area. Traditionally, a group has gathered on Capitol Hill and then marched into the downtown area, but this year, a local anarchist group is calling for a "decentralized, anti-capitalist" May Day, encouraging groups across the region to plan their own "actions" at different locations and times throughout the day.

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    Previous May Day violence

    May Day often turns violent and destructive when self-proclaimed anarchists and others, often dressed in black and covering their faces with hoods and bandanas, take to the streets.

    The city is warning businesses to bring in any outdoor signs and other business-owned objects during the evening hours to keep them from being damaged or destroyed during the marches. Dumpsters should be closed, locked and locked to each other or to a building. Trash cans or recycling bins should also be secured to prevent fires.

    In 2016, a man threw unlit gasoline-filled beer bottles at Seattle police. One officer suffered leg burns after a flash-bang grenade ignited gasoline from a bottle that shattered at his feet.

    In 2012, the worst May Day violence in recent history in Seattle erupted when protesters sheathed in black believed to be anarchists attacked Niketown, smashing in windows, setting fires and throwing paint.

    The problems began when a group of about 75 “Black Bloc”-type protesters joined the crowd at Westlake Plaza and left a trail of vandalism from Third to Sixth avenues using hammers, tire irons, paint, incendiary devices and solid rods.

    Since then, Seattle police have prepared for possible violence and have largely controlled protesters with a tight line of bicycles. 

    Violence not limited to Seattle

    The violence has not been limited to Seattle. In Olympia last year, onlookers, who called themselves "street people,” started throwing rocks and sticks at the demonstrators.

    Police fired flash grenades and shot rubber bullets and pepper balls into the crowd rioters who refused to disperse. Eventually, nine people were arrested.

    Last year in Seattle, May Day was tame compared to recent years, but five people were arrested during demonstrations.

    Marches to impact afternoon and evening traffic

    Meanwhile, commuters can expect some delays throughout Seattle Tuesday.

    Dozens of King County Metro and Sound Transit bus routes will be temporarily re-routed or delayed during the May Day events. Read about transit reroutes and delays for drivers here.

    The permitted march will leave Judkins Park at 20th Avenue S and S Dearborn Street and travel north on 20th Avenue to S Jackson Street; west on S Jackson Street to 4th Avenue; north on 4th Avenue to Madison Street; west on Madison Street to 2nd Avenue; north on 2nd Avenue ending at Spring Street.

    Here's a map of that march:

    The Seattle Department of Transportation said Seattle police will also use "rolling closures" on some streets downtown as routes change or as needed for unplanned protests.

    The Mariners will also be hosting a game at Safeco Field at 7:10 p.m. About 15,000 people expected to attend.

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