• What you need to know for May Day 2015

    By: KIRO 7 STAFF

    Updated:

    SEATTLE - At a Friday morning news conference, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said the majority of May Day protests have been coordinated with the city, and people should exercise their First Amendment rights, but the city is prepared to stop people from being destructive.

    [To see May Day Seattle updates in photo, video and our live update thread, as events happen, click here for our team coverage and story for Friday, May 1. ]

    Murray said the city will be able to keep its key transportation corridors open during the planned marches, but unplanned protests are expected.

    “What we don’t know is what one group of unpredictable people will do,” said Murray.

    But he said the city is ready to take action.

    “If people choose to shut down parts of certain streets or destroy property, the police are ready to act,” he said.

    The mayor urged people to listen to news reports and to go about their business as usual unless they hear otherwise, saying local businesses need their money.

    “Let’s not let a small group of destructive individuals change the dialog in our journey towards progress of issues of equity and race and in this city,” he said.

    Seattle drivers and residents can plan to see a large crowd winding through the Central District and downtown Seattle this afternoon and evening as part of the 14th Annual May Day March for Worker and Immigrant Rights, organized by El Comité.

    Police encourage people to plan for delays. 

    Here's what you can expect: 

    • Possible significant delays in transit service due to traffic, crowds and congestion associated with multiple planned May Day events.
    • Metro staff will work throughout the day to advise transit customers of impacts to service as they happen.
    • There are currently no pre-planned reroutes.  KIRO 7 on Friday will have team coverage of affected areas on Twitter, Facebook, kirotv.com, and our shows on TV or online.
    • Any bus service that travels near or through the downtown Seattle and Capitol Hill areas may be subject to delays during Friday's events.
    • Bus riders are advised to plan accordingly and revise travel plans if necessary and allow plenty of travel time.

    KIRO 7 will be pinpointing the demonstrators' routes throughout the day in a map like the below, as well as a live update thread. 

    Here's a breakdown of the rallies: 

    • A Black Lives Matter event is scheduled for 10:25 a.m. at Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park, 2200 Martin Luther King Jr. Way S.
    • The traditional May Day March begins with a rally  at Judkins Park/ St. Marys Church, 611 20 th Ave S.  at 2 p.m.
    • The anti-capitalist march's rally will start at 6 p.m. at SCCC at Broadway and Pine.  

     KIRO 7 has been tracking anarchist websites to see what they may have planned.

    One protester said he's bringing masks, bandanas and medic kits with an antidote for pepper spray. Another warned others not to snitch, and to bail each other out of jail.

     KIRO 7 has been tracking anarchist websites to see what they may have planned.

    One protester said he's bringing masks, bandanas and medic kits with an antidote for pepper spray. Another warned others not to snitch, and to bail each other out of jail.

    The map below points where the rallies will start and march. (Zoom in and out of interactive to see all points. Points in blue mark where protesters plan to march. Points in red mean rally or protest has happened at that location.). For a bigger map, click here.

    <iframe width="500" height="300" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://www.google.com/fusiontables/embedviz?q=select+col0+from+1L3XDuknXn9PoGXCSPVGIep1Mdb7CraLni-zn1g_F&amp;viz=MAP&amp;h=false&amp;lat=47.59980891343795&amp;lng=-122.30632294082646&amp;t=1&amp;z=13&amp;l=col0&amp;y=2&amp;tmplt=3&amp;hml=GEOCODABLE"></iframe>

    KIRO 7 reporters will be out in the field covering multiple angles of the march.

    Here's who to follow for fast updates:

    Hundreds of peaceful demonstrators took part in a sunny May Day march last year, in support of immigrant rights and a boost in the minimum wage in Seattle, but a smaller group of sometimes-masked protesters kept police busy as the sun went down. 

    Last year, 10 people were arrested. Two officers were injured. That was an improvement from the year before, when 17 protesters were arrested.

    Seattle police Precinct Captain Chris Fowler said the crowd levels are expected to be the same as May Day 2014.

    The mid-afternoon march is typically a peaceful demonstration about immigration rights. Officers met with the organizers of that rally Monday, and they learned that the group has reached out to Black Lives Matter. As of Friday morning, the event on the group's Facebook page said 2,000 people were attending.

    Black Lives Matter has been an organizing group for several protests against police brutality this year.

    Given the intensity of some protests over police brutality in Ferguson, New York, and Baltimore, KIRO 7 asked if that changes how Seattle police will approach this May Day.

    Fowler said, “It does, only in so far as do we have the staffing to be able to support those rallies, marches. Does that change the number of people we might see, and does that change a specific demonstration? It doesn’t change the philosophy of constitutionally protecting free speech.”

    This will be Chief Kathleen O’Toole’s first May Day.

    Fowler said the chief is fully supporting officers with appropriate staffing, and she has given clear direction.

    He said O’Toole expects officers to respond to people who break the law, but “she also expects us to be able to explain why we’re doing what we’re doing, and that’s a bit of a change. So it’s more I think a thought exercise at our level to be able to explain look, ‘this is what we’re doing based on these specific reasons.’”

    Fowler said officers will respond to individuals who are violent, harm others, or cause serious property damage.

    “Simply because it’s blocking traffic isn’t enough to take action,” he said, but officers will do some traffic mitigation if the direction of the march is unsafe.

    For example, police will dissuade protesters from getting on the freeway, like they did last year.

    Want to talk about the news of the day? Watch free streaming video on the KIRO 7 mobile app and iPad app, and join us here on Facebook.

    Next Up: