Big May Day Crowds Expected In Seattle

By Gillian Flaccus and Lisa Baumann, Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) – Chanting “Stand up, fight back,” hundreds of people marched through downtown Seattle Monday to support immigrants and workers on May Day.

In Shemanski Park in Portland, Oregon, hundreds of people, including some families with children, gathered at a May Day rally and watched dancers in bright feathered headdresses perform to the beat of drums.

In both cities authorities braced for demonstrations to turn disruptive, with some businesses boarding up windows and erecting barricades.

Friends Marian Drake and Martin Anderson attended the Portland rally and watched from a nearby park bench as they held balloons supporting the International Workers Union.

“Things are so screwed up in this country. You’ve got a city right here that’s full of homeless people and you’ve got a president …whose budget is going to cut 40 percent to the EPA and end Meals on Wheels. We don’t like those kinds of things,” Anderson said.

Across the street, friends Josh Elms and Ryan Falck sported red scarves and carried small Soviet flags as they prepared to march in support of workers’ rights.

Elms, a teacher’s aide who teaches kindergarteners how to read, said it was his first political rally and march and Trump’s election drove him to participate.

“This is the first actual protest that I’ve participated in because this year, with the election, I was flummoxed,” he said. “I could not believe that the election went the way it did. I do not have words.”

In Seattle Native American dancers walked in front of the larger gathering of protesters. The march followed a rally at a city park where speakers, including Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, urged resistance to President Donald Trump’s policies.

Seattle police say they ultimately expect up to 1,500 people to take part in the march Monday afternoon, and a large police presence was noticeable. Later Monday anti-capitalist gatherings were expected throughout the city.

The city traditionally sees large, disruptive May Day gatherings. Last year Seattle police used pepper spray to disperse black-clad protesters. Five officers were hurt, none seriously, and police arrested nine people.

In Portland several dozen people dressed entirely in black and wearing black bandanas and ski masks on their faces stood around the fringes of the Monday gathering at Shemanski Park holding signs that read “Radicals for Science!” and “No cuts! Tax the rich!” as police officers looked on.

City officials warned of the potential for road closures and traffic diversions later Monday due to several protests that lack permits. Several large stores downtown had already stationed private security guards at their doors and a Starbucks along one of the anticipated march routes closed at 1 p.m. in case of violent protests.

Several hundred people, many of them immigrants, gathered for a rally on the steps of the Oregon State Capitol. Speakers in Salem, Oregon, said they would not be intimidated by any crackdowns on immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally. One protester carried a sign saying bridges should be built instead of walls, referring to President Donald Trump’s plans to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown also appeared. The Democratic governor said that as long as she’s in office, Oregon will be welcoming and inclusive to all those who call the state home.

___

Flaccus reported from Portland, Oregon.

 

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.

More on the events:

May Day: Veteran Anti-War Formation starts at 8:45- 10:45 at Garden of Rememberance

Annual May Day March for Workers and Immigrant Rights starts at 11 am at Judkins Park, ~1,000 attending

May Day: March w/ PSL-Seattle starts at 11 am at Judkins Park

May Day Seattle 2017 starts  at 6 pm at King County Detention Center

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.

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