In what for the past several years has been a night in Seattle filled with vandalism and violence, a mostly peaceful affair took place. Even pro- and anti-President Donald Trump protesters lit up together — and shared a sip of Pepsi.
But in the end, all Seattle got out of Monday’s protests were a “peace joint” shared between opposing demonstrators and sips from a Pepsi can, mocking a controversial ad featuring model and Kardashian clan member Kendall Jenner as a soda-wielding protester.
Contrast that with Portland, where demonstrators threw smoke bombs and Molotov cocktails at police during May Day protests there. Police eventually declared a riot and arrested more than two dozen people.
And in Washington’s capitol, Olympia police reported they took at least eight people into custody after black-clad protesters throwing rocks and smashing windows injured several officers. A sling shot and sack of river rocks and cans of LaCroix were among the weapons police say were used on officers.
Seattle police made a total of five arrests Monday in and around Westlake Center. Those included two arrests for obstruction, one for unlawful possession of a weapon — a fixed-blade knife — and one for the theft of another demonstrator’s flag, police said.
“Police received no reports of property damage during the evening, and there were no injuries to officers,” according to a news release sent late Monday.
Since 2012, May Day in Seattle has seen protesters identifying as anarchists and anti-capitalists clashing with police and vandalizing areas of the city. But this year the pro-labor rights event returned to a more peaceful route with thousands of marchers taking to the streets to support immigrants’ and workers’ rights, cuts to military spending and an end to youth incarceration.
Near the King County Juvenile Detention Center, crowds joined a “pop-up bloc party” to denounce a proposed new youth jail in the Central District.
Bypolar, a 31-year-old rap artist and one of the main organizers of the impromptu event, addressed young people gathered along East Spruce Street.
“We’re not for prisons at all. We need to invest that money into our communities,” thereby addressing the underlying causes of crime, Bypolar said. “I’m saying there are other avenues. Prisons aren’t the answer.”
Earlier in the day, pro- and anti-Trump activists converged near Westlake Park downtown and debated how well the new president has handled his first 100 days in office.
During a Patriot Prayer march along Fourth Avenue, supporters of the president surrounded and promised to defend the free-speech rights of a lone anti-Trump protester.
Police were also monitoring reports of a far-right group called the Proud Boys. The group was responsible for violent confrontations at recent counter-protests in Berkeley and New York.
At Westlake Park, a couple of 17-year-olds from Bothell High came to see the action for themselves.
Carsten Brush and Niko Ziegler said it wasn’t what they expected.
“They looked a little bored,” said Brush.
Said Ziegler about this year’s May Day, “It’s not like TV, with windows smashed.”