May 3, 2013 in City

Seattle May Day protesters face charges

Gene Johnson Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Pedestrians walk past a drugstore window Thursday that was broken during a protest march in Seattle. The march began as an “anti-capitalism” protest and ended with protesters clashing with police.
(Full-size photo)

SEATTLE – Prosecutors started filing charges Thursday against some of the 17 people arrested during a violent May Day protest in Seattle.

Six people who spent the night in the King County Jail face misdemeanor charges that include obstructing officers, resisting arrest, property damage and failure to disperse, the city attorney’s office said.

Three who bailed out of the jail could be charged later, and five others were expected to make their initial appearances in King County Superior Court to face more serious charges later Thursday.

In all, 17 people were arrested after the “anti-capitalism” demonstration turned violent, with protesters pelting police with rocks and bottles and police firing “flash-bang” grenades and pepper spray.

Resisting arrest is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Obstruction of an officer, property damage and failure to disperse are gross misdemeanors, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Eight officers suffered minor injuries, police said.

The “anti-capitalism” protest followed a peaceful immigration reform march and rally that drew a much larger crowd of thousands earlier in the day.

It was the second year in a row for May Day violence in the Emerald City; last year, vandals smashed the windows at several downtown banks and stores, prompting criticism that the Seattle Police Department was unprepared.

On Wednesday evening, officers used “flash bangs” and pepper spray against dozens of protesters who threw construction street barriers, trash cans and newspaper bins on the streets in an attempt to block advancing police officers. A few protesters smashed windows of local businesses.

“We’re a bigger and better city than this. I look at this and I am disappointed that this is the picture the world sees of us,” Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said late Wednesday.

There were no immediate cost estimates from damage.

Many of the protesters were self-described anarchists. A local anarchist website said protesters would attempt to disrupt May Day.

After the clashes died down, local residents were seen cleaning up trash left by protesters.

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