City leaders concerned about May Day protests



Posted on April 30, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Updated Monday, Apr 30 at 5:47 PM

Mayor Mike McGinn and other city leaders said they remain concerned that anarchist groups are planning violent protests in Seattle Tuesday -- timed to coincide with scheduled May Day events.

Seattle May Day organizers will have their own security forces in place for the planned demonstrations. Both Occupy Seattle and El Comite will have a group of "peacekeepers" working the crowds, looking for trouble makers and reporting anything illegal to police.

"We will do everything in our power to keep our eyes open and our ears open and make this the most peaceful march as possible," said Juan Jose Bocanegra, coordinator for El Comite.

City officials have warned that some people intend to disrupt the peaceful marches. Signs and homemade drawings have popped up around the city. One reads, "Strike back May 1." In addition, anarchist websites have been found, advising protesters to "shut down the city."

The El Comite march will end with a rally at the main downtown branch of Wells Fargo Bank at Second Avenue and Union Street. Bocanegra says if outsiders spark violence, they will call police for help.

There will be plenty of police on hand. The Seattle Police Department if putting extra officers on overtime, both in uniform and undercover.

The Occupy Movement is also placing "peacekeepers" within their march from Seattle Central Community College to Westlake Park. They too, are asking troublemakers to stay clear of their demonstration.

"I think the credibility of the Occupy Movement is at stake here," said Tim Harris an Occupy organizer, "If there is violence it's going to keep people away."

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn is scheduled to welcome the El Comite crowd to the Wells Fargo Bank area at 6:30 p.m.  He plans to tell them about his support of immigration reform.  

Protests could result in delays for drivers and businesses.

Click here for a schedule of planned May Day events.