The annual May Day protests, where groups gather to protest against unfair conditions and to seek fair wages for workers, once again descended into chaos. The peaceful march earlier in the day in Seattle was overshadowed by the events that occurred afterwards when protestors clad all in black turned violent and walked through the streets carrying a banner that read
‘Whoever They Vote For, We Are Ungovernable’
The self-proclaimed ungovernable were not part of the official protest, but rather an off-shoot acting without authority and seemingly without any regard for the law. Business owners, obviously anticipating the worst, had pre-empted the chaos by boarding up their storefronts before the event. The police made sure their presence was known. Riot police and mounted police were all present during the protest, herding the rioters to open spaces where they could be quickly dispersed. Seattle Police Chief, Kathleen O’Toole said:
‘Unfortunately, tonight we had some violence, thankfully there were no serious injuries.’
There were still injuries, though, despite O’Toole not considering them serious. One officer was treated for lacerations to the head after being hit with a rock, one officer had a molotov cocktail thrown at them and was lucky to come away unburned, and another officer was bitten by a protestor. The Seattle Police Department posted a picture of some of the weapons confiscated during the riot:
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Some of the weapons collected at tonight's protest, incl Molotov <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/MayDaySea?src=hash”>#MayDaySea</a> <a href=”https://t.co/MRdfBuZYdi”>pic.twitter.com/MRdfBuZYdi</a></p>— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) <a href=”https://twitter.com/SeattlePD/status/726976276053917698″>May 2, 2016</a></blockquote>
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The police were once again heavy-handed in their treatment of the protestors, with pepper spray used liberally among the masses. What started as a peaceful protest by unions for workers’ rights, then adopted by immigrants for fair treatment, has unfortunately become infected by violence. The people involved in the peaceful marches are often unfairly linked to the minority who choose to use the protest as an excuse for violence; any positives achieved by the protest are quickly lost amongst the more headline-ready chaos that erupts from these events.
Seattle wasn’t the only city to host protests. Los Angeles also saw members of the public take to the streets to champion social issues like immigration and equality for minorities. The protests in LA were of a more peaceful nature, with immigrants rallying against the outpouring of racism from the Trump campaign. Jorge-Mario Cabrera, a spokesman for the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles, said:
‘In addition to fighting for workers’ rights, we are fighting for our dignity this time around, our self-respect…We can certainly encourage folks to look at what they’re watching, what they’re hearing and have them represent themselves and their families — whether they can vote or not — and say, ‘We are not the rapists. We are not the criminals you are talking about. And we are quite good for this country,’
It’s easy to imagine that should Trump achieve the unthinkable and become the next President of the United States of America, violent protests will be made more common, escalating to match the racist rhetoric for which the Republican frontrunner is becoming known..
You can see footage from the riots below:
Featured Image: SeattlePi