Hundreds of sign-carrying, flag-waving demonstrators jammed downtown streets Wednesday in a series of May Day marches and rallies â€” some at the peak of afternoon rush hour â€” protesting capitalism, promoting worker rights and pushing for changes in federal immigration laws.
From the Central Area to Capitol Hill to downtown, the daytime marches and rallies were peaceful. But by 8 p.m. the scene was starting to show signs reminiscent of May Day 2012, when groups of demonstrators, including black-clad anarchists, broke free from a march and smashed windows in businesses, a courthouse and cars.
By eveningâ€™s end Wednesday, police were pushing the mob back using pepper spray, there were 18 arrests and eight officers injured â€” mostly scrapes and bruises â€” and the streets were littered with debris.
From the start, police seemed determined to carry out their main goal: Let protesters peacefully move about the city while not tolerating lawbreaking affecting property and safety.
The march in support of immigration reform drew the largest crowd â€” between 3,000 and 4,000 people who rallied at Judkins Park early in the afternoon before taking a circuitous route through the Chinatown International District for a later rally at the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building in downtown Seattle.
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