Police lining up by Seattle Central Community College as the evening May Day protests heated up with window-smashing and injuries among both police and demonstrators.
Police lining up on the plaza of Seattle Central Community College as the evening May Day protests heated up—there have been reports of window-smashing and injuries to both officers and demonstrators.Alex Garland

Editor's note: This post will be updated throughout the day, with most recent posts at the top. For breaking news on May Day 2015 as it's happening, follow us @strangerslog or keep checking back on this post for more updates.

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The SPD now puts the number of arrests at 16, and is calling the arrested people "rioters":


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Here's a look at one SPD tactic in response to the protests:

During the Capitol Hill protests.
During the Capitol Hill protests. Alex Garland

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More description of that mysterious drone, from Brendan:

Looked like a four-propeller contraption: two red flashing lights on the underside, two green. It didn’t hold very steadily in the air, but seemed to zoom here and there, and several stories higher than the roof of the Blick art supply building. Which kind of makes me think it was a twitchy news drone, or some bored and wealthy private citizen, instead of the law or some protesters trying to “monitor” anything.


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More items the SPD says it seized today:


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Brendan reports that it all seems to be winding down. "The only real conflict I hear now is a lovers' quarrel or two in the crowd."


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Gotta eat sometime:


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The Seattle chapter of the National Lawyers Guild has issued a statement condemning the SPD's behavior tonight:

Earlier this evening, Seattle Police Department officers singled out and harassed National Lawyers Guild legal observers during their crackdown on May Day protesters. After having been earlier struck by rubber bullets, two NLG legal observers were walking up Capitol Hill on the sidewalk. While police were lobbing flash grenades into the crowd, the legal observers heard an officer yell out an order to arrest them. Officers then grabbed one of the legal observers by the backpack and handcuffed her. After ten minutes, officers released her and told her to go home. The NLG has received reports that officers have also arrested at least one street medic, who has not been released.

When people are protesting against police violence, there is a heightened need for lawyers, legal workers and law students to be present and observe police behaviors. What separates a democracy from a police state is the ability of people to observe the police without fear of retaliation and physical violence. It is completely unacceptable to single out legal observers for arrest and such conduct constitutes a direct assault on core values of a free society.

The Seattle Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild therefore calls on the Seattle Police Department to cease its aggressive and unprovoked harassment of our legal observers.

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The police surrounding the plaza at Seattle Central have given an order to "fall back," Brendan reports. The handful of demonstrators still there responded with taunts. Ansel reports that some shouted "Move back," mimicking the command bike cops often give to protesters.

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Brendan reports the protesters are chanting, "We don't wanna hurt anybody, we don't wanna get hurt." Also, a guy is haranguing an officer about how he's "not a bigger person because you've got a stick." Meanwhile, Broadway is being reopened to traffic and the numbers of protesters appear to be thinning.


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Mayor Ed Murray, in a statement, declares that "those who are violent will be arrested."

Seattle celebrates free speech, the right to assemble and freedom of the press. People are raising their voices across the nation, working constructively to advance issues of racial equity and justice in our society. During this moment in history, peaceful protest and civil disobedience can be effective vehicles of social change. The City of Seattle prepared extensively to protect the rights of peaceful protesters to express their anger at racism and injustice.

What erupted tonight is a very different story. Tonight we saw assaults on police officers and senseless property damage, which cannot be tolerated. Those who are violent will be arrested. We will work to disperse groups that are threatening the safety of our residents and businesses.

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The SPD sees the drone, too, and says it doesn't belong to the department:


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The police perimeter around Seattle Central.
The police perimeter around Seattle Central. Brendan Kiley

Brendan reports from Seattle Central Community College:

There's a strong SPD perimeter around the plaza at Seattle Central. Ansel estimates there are 100 people inside the perimeter. Police are letting people out, but no one can get back in. There is at least one visible drone overhead. Two members of the Puget Sound Medic Collective, named Jackson and Ash, say police seemed to become "way more aggressive, way faster" than in previous years. They say they saw police using rubber bullets for the first time this May Day, and they were "very generous with the flash bangs."

Two large groups of officers just approached the plaza and the Puget Sound Medic Collective medics thinks that police will either just tire the protesters out until they leave or conduct a mass arrest. Ash said, "I've never seen that in Seattle during May Day but I've certainly seen it in New York."

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The Seattle Police Department reports 15 arrests this evening and three officers injured (two of them taken to Harborview with "serious" injuries).




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Ansel has called in a report questioning Captain Fowler's description of the evening (so far) as a "riot," though he says police are "throwing flash-bangs around like jellybeans." Just heard what sound like a few more from the office, coming from the Seattle Central Community College area.

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If Seattle isn't enough for you, the Guardian has photos of similar scenes from Turkey, Indonesia, Paris, and Japan.

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This guy looks like he should be going to Harborview.


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SPD reports 25 damaged vehicles.


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An observer from the National Lawyers Guild—which commonly sends representatives to watch at demonstrations—says she's been injured by a police projectile.


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Same person said she thinks police "far, far outnumber" demonstrators.


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Someone at the scene called to say that where demonstrators dragged dumpsters into the street, civilians are now putting them back.


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There are reports of flash-bangs (which can be heard at the office), pepper spray, and three arrests, as well as three officers injured, though that's not confirmed. (And sometimes fast reports of officers being injured by demonstrators turn out to be shaky—but still, we hope nobody's seriously injured.)


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Dissent among the dissenters—and between the First and Second Amendments.


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May Day/Baltimore solidarity march in Argentina:


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In a bit of 1921, Red Scare-era counter-programming, May 1 was federally recognized as "Loyalty Day." According to the US code, it is "a special day for the reaffirmation of loyalty to the United States and for the recognition of the heritage of American freedom."


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This appears unrelated to May Day. But given what Mayor Murray said in his remarks this morning—"There will be cost overruns. We're standing up a good part of the police force for the next twenty four hours"—it seems like a unwise evening to be out making garden-variety mischief.


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Did you know that May 1 is also the feast day of St. Joseph the Worker? (And did you know Jesus' dad's last name was "the Worker"?)


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From the Seattle Police Department:


The immigrant rights march is now headed into downtown and toward the federal courthouse:




On Capitol Hill, the new Starbucks is apparently worried about window smashing:


Immigrant rights march is now on the move:

Thousands of immigrant rights marchers head down Jackson Street toward downtown Seattle.
Immigrant rights marchers head down Jackson Street toward downtown Seattle. Alex Garland





Here's the path the immigrant rights march will be traveling through the city:


The El Comite march for immigrant rights should be taking off from Judkins Park around 3 p.m.:



The #BlackLivesMatter marchers have arrived at Judkins Park, where the El Comite march for immigrant rights is gathering:


Earlier today, Mayor Ed Murray made a statement about May Day in Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill:

Mayor Ed Murray
Mayor Ed Murray Seattle Channel

This neighborhood has a history of protest. A history of protest that has changed this city for the better. Protest in the anti war movement. Protest for LGBT rights. Protest is part of the American tradition of free speech.

There are also individuals who chose to be destructive. The story of today is not about a few individuals being destructive. It is about those who chose to speak up and improve the lives of others.

That discussion can't simply be limited to the issue of police. When we talk about race, we also need to talk about other systems that we need to reform—a failed education system, particularly for young African-Americans, a failed foster care system, a failed criminal justice system, a failed mental health system. We need to have a fuller discussion in this city and in this nation.

While there's much that we need to do… we realize that we've also made progress... We are better today than we were 50 years ago.

I would ask people today throughout the city to recommit to our long term journey for equity.

The #BlackLivesMatter protest is on the move:


#BlackLivesMatter protest at MLK Memorial Park:

At MLK Memorial Park this morning, for the #BlackLivesMatter march.
At MLK Memorial Park this morning, for the #BlackLivesMatter march. Kelly O