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What to expect at the May Day 2018 march in Seattle

The May Day 2017 march in Seattle. (Hanna Scott, KIRO Radio)

Though Seattle police are hopeful things will stay peaceful during May Day, they’re ready for anything.

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Deputy Chief Chris Fowler says the first thing everyone needs to know is traffic will be impacted no matter what. Click here for a map of the planned march through Seattle.

Despite the more disruptive evening events that typically occur in Seattle on May 1, the day’s primary demonstration happens over the afternoon when a march for worker and immigration rights peacefully moves through the city.

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Annual May Day marches will happen in various Washington cities Tuesday, including Olympia, Tacoma, Yakima, and Seattle. The groups organizing the Seattle march — May 1st Action Coalition and El Comité — are focusing the event on issues of customs and immigration enforcement.

It is the 19th year that the workers’ rights march is happening in Seattle.

According to the event’s Facebook page:

El Comité and the May 1st Action Coalition are calling on all workers and all social justice advocates to come out on Tuesday, May 1st 2018 (International Workers’ Day) for the 19th Annual May Day March for Immigrant and Workers Rights. We are using the march to publicly expose ICE activity in Washington State and to hold the Department of Licensing accountable for having facilitated ICE harassment against community members by way of sharing information about motorists. The March in Seattle on May 1st is among several coordinated events happening in communities across the State of Washington, including Yakima, and Tacoma.

It was discovered this year that the Washington State Department of Licensing was providing private information to federal immigration authorities. The news erupted with controversy and prompted action from Governor Jay Inslee. Critics argue that Inslee’s executive order — barring state resources from helping federal authorities determine a person’s immigration status — will have unintended consequences.

Organizers also say that the march is part of a larger “informational campaign against ICE” to “combat the climate of fear spreading into every corner of our communities. ICE agents separate children from parents, disappear community members, divide families, and generally harass people.”

May Day 2018 march route

Crowds will begin gathering at Judkins Park at 2:30 p.m. for the event.

According to Seattle Curbed, police will conduct various road closures as the march leaves the park and passes through downtown Seattle. More than 1,000 people are expected to participate and traffic will be impacted.

KIRO 7 reports what is known of the route so far:

  • March leaves Judkins Park at 3:30 p.m. on Dearborn Street to 20th Avenue South
  • North on 20th Avenue to Jackson Street
  • West on South Jackson Street to 4th Avenue
  • North on 4th Avenue to Madison Street
  • West on Madison Street to 2nd Avenue
  • North on 2nd Avenue to Spring Street

The route is subject to change. The ending point for the May Day 2018 march has yet-to-be announced. The march has ended at Seattle Center in the past. However, the known route ends at 2nd Avenue and Spring Street where offices for the Washington State Department of Licensing and the US Immigration Review Court are located.


Seattle police are keeping an eye on a last-minute event at Westlake Park scheduled for 3 p.m.

KIRO Radio’s Hanna Scott reports Washington State Patriot Response will hold a counter-protest against the left. Patriot Response will include people from groups such as Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys; both have been linked to violent events in the past. Both groups made their appearance on May Day last year.

As for the traditional anti-capitalist groups, they are not holding a march of their own. Instead, they are calling for anarchists and anti-capitalists to spread out in small groups, making it tougher for police to put an end to their disruptions.

But Deputy Chief Fowler says they’ll have plenty of officers at Westlake and across the city to stay on top of the situation.

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