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Olympia, WA May Day Update

Olympia May Day update
brief update from Olympia, WA May Day festivities - About 500 people have gathered in the streets of Olympia's westside (near Harrison and Division) and are dancing to techno and drums. A plot of unused land slated for development into a gas station is in the process of being converted to a community garden space and automous zone. Police have thus far not tried to stop the party or geurilla gardening. There has been occasional sprinkles but it hasn't cooled the crowd down. Earlier there was a 60-70 strong critical mass bike ride, a brief march featuring the local "Rainy Day Marching Band" and radical cheerleading. Black, Red and Black, and rainbow flags wave around the crowd....more updates later and hopefully photos...
Olympia May Day update 01.May.2001 23:00

Eric Chase erricco@hotmail.com

It is a bit trimmed down since I originally submitted this to the Daily Olympian and had to keep it under 250 words. So much more can be said about the sound system, the jazz band, the punk band, the marching band, the anarchist cheerleaders, the guy that read the Lorax to 50 people, the
garden, the giant yarn spider web, the bubbles, the bubbles and the bubbles, etc but here it is...

Olympia May Day 2001

I just returned from the May Day festivities and have a few observations.

The march which started at the Value Village parking lot and ended up short of the intersection of Harrison and Division.

Organizers kept their word and did not take over anyintersection nor block traffic that did not have an alternative route. I thought this was a nice way of creating a celebratory atmosphere, freeing up an area for creative and social interaction (building a community
garden in an open lot), yet not bowing to authority that many see as oppressive.

All was calm until police decided to disperse the crowd. As armored riot police moved in, the once festive atmosphere turned nearly confrontational.

Angered, revelers decided to march downtown. This didn't seem to be the original intention of the May Day celebrators.

If the police had let the celebration continue where it started, traffic impact would have been minimal and tensions low. There appeared to be twoconflicting theories. One, allowing the celebration of nearly 1000 citizens to continue and finish at its own pace, and another to force the party to go where it didn't want to go, inciting the crowd's ire.

In the end, the party returned to the community gardens and the police looked silly for marching up and down the West Side hill in full body armor slapping their legs with their batons. Hopefully the celebratory message of workers and nature isn't lost in an unnecessary show of force.