There were spasms of violence among mostly peaceful May Day social-justice rallies in Seattle yesterday as black-clad vandals left downtown Seattle littered with shattered glass and put police — and the city — on edge, reports the Seattle Times. The vandalism, much of it aimed at financial institutions, recalled the 1999 World Trade Organization riots. Mayor Mike McGinn, citing lessons learned from that chaos, issued an emergency order giving police power preventively to seize anything that could be used as a weapon.
The order, imposed after a noontime vandalism spree by about 75 apparent anarchists armed with poles, contributed to arrests and clashes between police and protesters. After the initial violence and full mobilization of police, much of the mayhem died down. Planned afternoon marches were mostly peaceful, although downtown traffic was tangled. At least eight people were arrested, and at least a dozen businesses and a federal courthouse were vandalized downtown. McGinn said he feared that the vandals — who evaporated into the crowd after the noontime violence — would return.