Seattle Police increase visibility in advance of May Day marches

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by LINDA BYRON / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @LByronK5

KING5.com

Posted on April 29, 2013 at 5:28 PM

Updated Thursday, May 9 at 6:16 PM

A Seattle Police officer stood guard at Niketown in the heart of Seattle's business district on Tuesday, hoping to avoid a repeat of last year’s May Day chaos.

As businesses hire on extra security, SPD's May Day commander, Capt. Chris Fowler, offers reassurance.

“I think we're ready, we've been planning this for approximately five weeks," he said.

SPD hasn't seen the kind of "precursor activity" that forecast violence in the days running up to may day 2012, but groups that take direct action, can expect  a direct police reaction.

"To us direct action means breaking windows, property damage crimes against persons,” said Fowler.

Potential targets aren't a surprise, big banks, federal buildings, and corporations like Goldman Sachs, which is being called out internationally.

"We have done an assessment of other likely targets and there will be officers posted in those locations.  We can't possibly post at every potential window … that’s a lot of windows in the city,” said Fowler.

SPD was understaffed last year and sources tell KING 5 there will be double the police power on the streets this may day, with plenty of leeway for peaceful protests.

"The city promotes free speech and the right to express themselves, so as long as they’re doing that peacefully, then we will accept the conditions they do that under,” said Fowler.

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