9 Arrested in Seattle After May Day Protesters Clash With Police

Police in Seattle arrested nine people Sunday after a peaceful May Day march morphed into a riot, with “anti-capitalist” protestors throwing rocks, flares and Molotov cocktails at police.


The Seattle Police Department said violence rose out of a peaceful march for workers' rights and immigration that took place earlier in the day. At least five officers were injured, including one who was hit with a Molotov cocktail, another who was struck in the face with a rock, and a third who was bitten by a protestor.

In a statement, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray thanked the Seattle Police Department for their “extraordinary work” during the protests.

“It is unfortunate and deeply regrettable that in a City that goes to incredible lengths to respect First Amendment rights, there are some who disregard our values and engage in senseless acts of violence and property destruction,” the statement reads. “This City condemns any acts of physical violence against our police officers, and my thoughts are with the officers who were injured.”

Organized labor unions traditionally use May Day to rally for workers' rights, with pro-worker demonstrations dating back to the Great Depression. But in recent years, May 1st protests have been increasingly co-opted by anarchists who use the demonstrations to rally against police violence and capitalism.

Dressed in black hoods and masks, “black bloc” protestors marched downtown, throwing rocks at police, who responded with pepper spray and “blast balls.” The mob continued downtown, reportedly smashing windows and vandalizing a Costco parking lot.

The scene mirrored last year’s May Day march in Seattle, when 16 protestors were arrested and three officers were injured in similar anti-capitalist demonstrations. Asked at a news conference why Seattle police allow these protests to continue each year, SPD Chief O’Toole said they took action as soon as “assaults and property damage began.”

“We allow people to march and assemble … We facilitate that in Seattle,” O’Toole added.

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