May Day 2017 was relatively peaceful
May Day 2017 was relatively peaceful Nate Gowdy

Happy May Day. For some, today is a seasonal celebration marked by costumed people dancing in a field. For many others, today is International Workers Day. In Seattle, El Comité will lead a march this afternoon from Judkins Park to downtown Seattle "to publicly expose ICE activity in Washington State." On past May Days, anarchists have broken windows and police have deployed dangerous crowd-control devices, but things stayed relatively calm last year despite a far-right contingent of Trump supporters showing up for the first time ever. Right-wingers are coming back this year, too, including Proud Boys, self-described "Western chauvinists" group and Joey Gibson's Patriot Prayer.

What is in store? We'll keep you posted. Check back often for updates:

6:20 PM: Things appear to be winding down on May Day 2018. Steven Hsieh reports the Proud Boys are done with their parade, and the black bloc is apparently on the light rail.

6 PM: Well, that didn't last long. Right-wing marchers with the Proud Boys and other groups marched from Westlake to Capitol Hill, but after less than a half hour are now headed back to Westlake. Downtown, marchers are calling for an end to deportations and better pay for teachers, among other things. Police are in position to prevent protesters from accessing I-5.




And what's up with the black bloc? After flirting with just having a nice night and getting some dinner, a small group is now on Capitol Hill, KOMO reports:




5:30 PM: The El Comité march has arrived downtown, where it will wrap up with a series of speakers. The Proud Boys and friends have reached Capitol Hill. Downtown, traffic is being rerouted off 2nd Avenue near University Street. Follow King County Metro for updates about bus service in the area.


A fight about the wall at Boylston and Pike: "This is what our country has fallen to. These are the baser instincts of people who are afraid of immigrants, who are afraid of people of color, of transgender people."




5:05 PM: Some people who don't understand Bruce Springsteen are on their way to Capitol Hill:


4:55 PM: The El Comité march is nearing downtown.


And at Westlake, the right-wing protesters look headed toward Capitol Hill:




4:35 PM: Police are all over downtown and please, god, someone do something about their bike brakes.



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4:30 PM: International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 46 President Sean Bagsby says "our communities are being destroyed" under the Trump Administration.




4:10 PM: The El Comité march is heading down Jackson:




And meanwhile, in Olympia and Lacey:




4 PM: The Proud Boy types are marching through downtown.




3:55 PM: Anti-youth jail activists are hosting a "family friendly block party" in the University District. Details here.

3:50 PM: Let's take a look at who's at Westlake...




3:40 PM: The El Comité march is on the move from Judkins Park to downtown Seattle.








3:30 PM:


3:25 PM: No New Youth Jail protesters will join the El Comité march.



3:15 PM: Preparing to march at Judkins: "They try to bury people of color, but they don't know that we are seeds."





3:05 PM: The discourse:




2:57 PM: Here's the scene at Judkins Park, where labor unions, immigrant rights activists, and others will march beginning at 3:30. This year's focus: "to publicly expose ICE activity in Washington State and to hold the Department of Licensing accountable for having facilitated ICE harassment against community members by way of sharing information about motorists."


2:54 PM: Important:




2:50 PM: Cops and a few right-wingers are beginning to gather at Westlake. Will cops use blast balls on crowds this year? Back in 2016, software engineer Sam Levine was injured by a blast ball while covering May Day protests as an independent blogger. Since then, Levine has sued the city. Sydney Brownstone reports that discovery in Levine's case reveals that a report commissioned by the Seattle Police Department before May Day 2016 highlighted blast balls as a potential risk. "Absent a situation where officers were facing the immediate threat of death or serious physical injury," the report said, "the intentional deployment of a blast ball device at or in close proximity to a human being would be unjustified, excessive, and dangerous."


2:28 PM: Before Steven Hsieh heads to Westlake, he wrote this primer on the far-right groups planning to demonstrate there...

As Heidi Groover reported, 2017 marked the first time in recent memory that May Day included a right-wing presence. It was an incredibly stupid few hours of people yelling at each other, culminating with lefties and MAGA-types passing around a joint.

The group behind last year’s rally, Patriot Prayer, plans to demonstrate again in Westlake today. Patriot Prayer is lead by Joey Gibson, a Japanese-American man from Vancouver, Washington who is mounting a longshot candidacy for the U.S. Senate. Gibson and Patriot Prayer self-identify as free speech conservatives who opposed racism and bigotry, but their rallies have attracted white supremacists and devolved into violence. Some refer to the group as alt-right, but it is more accurately described as alt-lite, which means they still espouse hardcore nationalist views but don’t identify with the more racist elements of the far right. Recently, Patriot Prayer has held rallies in Portland, Spokane, the University of Washington, Olympia and Berkeley.

The Pacific Northwest chapter of the Proud Boys are also expected to attend the Westlake rally. Founded last year by former Vice Media boss Gavin McInnes, the Proud Boys are a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group that self-describe as “Western chauvinists.” The Proud Boys show up to any rally where you might encounter Antifa protestors. Look for them in their uniform, a Fred Perry polo.

Cascade Legion is a local group lead by CB Robertson, a racist who regularly writes for for Counter-Currents.com, the white nationalist blog and book publisher. According to Cascade Legion’s website, the group’s primary purpose is to maintain order during protests and assist police if they are needed. Their logo appears on this hoodie.

1:47 PM: Police have reportedly arrested a man for throwing a rock at the Amazon spheres. At a press conference yesterday, a reporter asked a SPD spokesperson if the police were going to protect the spheres. The spokesperson said they would not go out of their way to protect Jeff Bezos' balls.


1:16 PM: Here is a map of the main march and probable traffic impact areas, courtesy of SPD.

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SPD

1:05 PM: The fancy Starbucks has taken precautions.


And El Comité is breaking out the supplies.