MAY DAY - Sunday, May 1
This year, May 1st falls on a Sunday, and for the past few years, various organizations and individuals have chosen to participate in coordinated and impromptu protests in downtown Seattle. Recently these protests have migrated to Capitol Hill and have led to property damage and aggressive behavior that makes residents, employees, business and property owners concerned for their safety.
The first amendment of the US Bill of Rights guarantees the right to peaceably gather and protest, and Seattle residents have a long history of protesting injustice through peaceful actions. However, a group of individuals have infiltrated these protests over the past few years who have less than peaceful intentions.
The Seattle Police Department has actively monitored these protests over the past few years, and they have the legal right to ensure that the time, place and manner of the protest do not result in risk to individuals or property. If individuals begin initiating violence, law enforcement will give three warnings. If the warnings are ignored, they will take action to disperse the crowd and help prevent the activities.
It is impossible to predict what will happen this May Day, as the protesters rarely seek any type of permit or coordinate with law enforcement. However, we can all take actions to ensure people and property are safe:
- Stay informed about the protest to ensure you are aware of activities that may occur near and around you
- Call early and call often if you see anything suspicious
- Know where fire extinguishers and fire exits are located in your business, home and building
- Watch for suspicious activity and call 911 if you see anything suspicious
- Remove outdoor fixtures such as flower pots, chairs, table and signs if the protest moves up to Capitol Hill
- Consider closing your windows if you hear reports of tear gas or flash bombs being used near your work place or home
- Record and/or save any video from the day in case law enforcement contact you about suspicious or dangerous activities
Staff from the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce will be working with the Seattle Police Department to monitor activities and provide timely and frequent updates throughout the day through email and Twitter. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to receive emails or follow @caphillchamber on Twitter.
Thank you for your ongoing support and interest in the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce.