May Day demonstrations disrupt downtown Portland, Seattle
Originally published May 1, 2012 at 1:33 p.m., updated May 1, 2012 at 10:35 p.m.
PORTLAND (AP) — Members of the Occupy Portland movement “reclaimed” a foreclosed house while protesters and police engaged in several skirmishes on May Day in Portland. In Seattle, black-clad protesters with sticks and bats smashed windows in stores and automobiles in May Day demonstrations that turned violent, and police recovered homemade incendiary devices made from toilet paper rolls and fruit juice boxes.
A few thousand people marched through downtown Portland on Tuesday afternoon as part of an annual May Day parade that has turned violent in years past. This year’s event, which included many students and union members, passed with few arrests as demonstrators chanted for jobs and justice while opposing war and Wells Fargo. Organizers received a permit for that march and coordinated plans with police.
Earlier Tuesday, Portland police made more than a dozen arrests as protesters staging a much-smaller parade without a permit scuffled with officers who demanded they march on the sidewalk. Shoving matches ensued when police on bikes and horses tried to push protesters away from traffic. Those arrested were charged with disorderly conduct and interfering with a police officer.
The protest veered to Pioneer Place mall at one point, with demonstrators chanting for the place to shut down.
There were scattered reports of vandalism during the day — mostly at banks — and many protesters remained on sidewalks as night fell. Sgt. Pete Simpson, a police bureau spokesman, said officers would eventually tell them to leave and what happened after that would “depend on the dynamic of the crowd.”
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn made an emergency declaration Tuesday afternoon, allowing police to confiscate any items that could be used as weapons.
McGinn said dozens of protesters used long sticks, which looked like flagpoles, as weapons. He said his decree would enable police to take such items from people before they caused damage. Following the order, police were seen removing sticks, poles and other objects from protesters’ hands throughout the day. Officers made at least eight arrests by early evening after hundreds of people marched through downtown. Police said they seized the crude incendiary devices after some protesters hurled smoke bombs and other items.
The large crowds disrupted Seattle traffic during the evening rush hour, and several buses were rerouted through downtown.
While much smaller in scale, the mayhem was reminiscent of the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle that caused widespread damage and forced the cancellation of some WTO events.
“We appreciate that the vast majority of people out there are peaceful participants,” McGinn said at an afternoon news conference. “What we know from WTO previously is you get a group of people committed to cause damage. … My direction to police is, I expect them to respond to lawbreaking swiftly and aggressively.”
McGinn said many of the most violent protesters — those who had caused damage with rocks, hammers and tire irons — tried to hide in the larger crowd early Tuesday afternoon by shedding their all-black clothes.
At the federal appeals court building, an FBI evidence team arrived after protesters shattered glass doors with rocks and threw or shot a smoke bomb toward the lobby. The device hit the only door that didn’t break, spun off into some nearby bushes and started a small blaze that quickly burned itself out.
The entrance to the Niketown store was completely smashed, with chunks of broken glass littering the sidewalk. Vandals splattered paint across the store and a neighboring American Apparel. Police on bicycles moved in and dispersed people; the entrances were soon marked with police tape.
Charlone Mayfield, a retired medical industry worker from Seattle, was in a Seattle Verizon cellphone store when she saw the crowd approach. A protester broke off from the group and struck the window as she watched.
“He started hitting the window with his baseball bat. … I was here when WTO happened; this is really scary,” Mayfield said.
The Oregonian newspaper reported that four demonstrators were arrested outside a downtown Portland courthouse Tuesday night and someone lit a fire in a nearby trash container.
Away from downtown, students protested against school cutbacks and members of the Occupy Portland movement rallied at a northeast Portland park before breaking into a foreclosed house.
The protesters entered through a side door after breaking into a lock box to get the key. Alisha Jackson, the former owner, moved her furniture back in while protesters partied and cut apart the “For Sale” sign out front.
“This is awesome, it’s great. I love this,” Jackson said. “This is community.”
Update from Portland Police
Adults arrested Tuesday (*booked into the Multnomah County Jail):
19-year-old Robert P. Oliver
47-year-old Angela Irene Hammit
30-year-old Blair Jacob Stuwe
26-year-old Levi James Talbot
18-year-old Justin Natzel
28-year-old Lauren Marie Foree
32-year-old Danielle Reynolds
40-year-old William Roy Cook
47-year-old Neill Seigel
21-year-old Adrian Liwanag
22-year-old Adrian Vincent Guerrero
19-year-old Carlos Gabriel Benavides-Montes
20-year-old Damien Santori Phillips
18-year-old Eugene Ryan
43-year-old Joseph Bennie
20-year-old Karyn Mariko Smoot
21-year-old Kyle Wade Dolan
21-year-old Samuel Gates
52-year-old Theresa Sayles
25-year-old Dane William Kingsley
Additionally, a 15-year-old male was arrested for Interfering with a Police Officer and Disorderly Conduct in the Second Degree.
Additional arrests are continuing and updates will be provided at a later time.
Those booked into jail have photos available at www.mcso.us.