Protesters and Anarchists gathered for the annual Anti-Capitalism protest at Seattle Central Community College at 6 p.m. on May 1. By the end of the night 16 people were arrested and 3 police injured. Seattle Police Captain Chris Fowler declared, what started as a protest, a riot as evening set in.
Protesters marched through the city spray painting buildings, smashing windows on cars and buildings, and upending trash cans and dumpsters.
Some protesters targeted journalists, slapping cameras, chasing journalists and smashing the windows of news vans.
The protest began as a peaceful, yet there was an extremely tense air about the marchers, before eventually breaking out into violence between protesters and police on Howell and Broadway.
The march was slightly delayed due to an argument about whether or not to allow Shayne Butts, who was carrying an SKS rifle, to march with them.
Arguments got heated, some even calling Butts a “racist” for his decision to carry his rifle and wear plate armor.
“There are rounds in the magazine, but not in the chamber,” Butts said.
Butts also had extra rounds and magazines in his plate-carrier vest. Butts is a former Marine who showed up to exercise his right to open carry.
The protesters were joined by Seattle’s superhero force known as ECHO (Emerald City Heroes Organization) consisting of El Caballero, Sky Man, Black Knight, Red Ranger and Dragon.
Violence broke out about half-an-hour to forty-five minutes after the march began when protesters started to tip over trashcans and upset construction sites.
Protesters threw rocks, poles, sticks, batteries, bottles, hammers and wrenches at police officers who were wearing riot gear that protesters have dubbed “ninja turtle suits”.
The Seattle Police fought back with flash-bangs, pepper spray, bicycle barricades, pepper balls, batons and Arwen 37 launchers that fired tear gas canisters into the crowd.
As the flash-bang grenades exploded they sent shrapnel flying in all directions, injuring multiple people. One protester showed his back to people after a flash bang shell left him with a 6 inch welt.
Police attempted to split the massive group of protesters multiple times only to have the protesters rejoin each other on another street.
One I-5 off-ramp was sectioned off and temporarily closed to prevent rioters from marching on the freeway.
Police were able to section the protesters off at SCCC where they stayed well into the evening continuing to chant, yell at police, graffiti the building and start a fire. The protest began to dwindle as the sun went down with most dispersing around 10:30 – 11 p.m.
See more photos HERE.