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actions & protests | human & civil rights may day 2001-2012

MayDay "unpermitted" march photos & commentary

May Day, to many of us, has always been a day to celebrate the history of working class resistance, and to express our own resistance in the ongoing class war. That's why I chose to go to the "unpermitted" march to start out my MayDay this year. The march, like every one I've gone, started out as a peaceful, non-violent action as we left Waterfront Park around noon. We wanted to make a point that we don't need any "permit" to struggle for social justice, especially from our oppressors.
May Day, to many of us, has always been a day to celebrate the history of working class resistance, and to express our own resistance in the ongoing class war. That's why I chose to go to the "unpermitted" march to start out my MayDay this year. The march, like every one I've gone to, started out as a peaceful, non-violent action as we left Waterfront Park around noon. We wanted to make a point that we don't need any "permit" to struggle for social justice, especially from our oppressors. So about 100 of us took to the streets with our defiant message, "Whose streets? Our streets!!" This is our MayDay!
The cops, who were already there in waiting, wasted no time to order us "Back to the sidewalks!" with threats of arrest, chemical attacks, and the usual arsenal of brutal tactics. When we refused to comply, they attacked us, arresting a few protestors whom they seemed to have targeted as the "troublemakers." This went on several times throughout the next two hours as we marched downtown—they tried to stop us; we refused to obey, they attacked us. As we marched downtown, it seemed that many more people joined us. It should be noted that many protestors actually stayed on the sidewalk during the march. And on several occasions, although some of us did try to clear out of the streets, the cops still attacked us—I guess we didn't move fast enough. There were lots of cops everywhere, cops on horses, bikes, motorbikes, and riot cops suited in heavy black tire. It's been reported that 12 people were arrested and allegedly charged with "resisting arrest" and "disorderly conduct."
Around 2:00 PM, we streamed into Pioneer Place mall, and "occupied" all three levels, chanting "Shut it down!" The security guards chose not to intervene, and there were no cops around. Around 2 PM, many protestors had left, and the remaining ended up at Pioneer Courthouse Square.
For many of us, who were at Occupy, and/or participated in previous protests and direct actions, the repressive actions of the cops come as no surprise. The cops and the "1%" they serve will continue to trample on our constitutional rights as dissent is criminalized and the police become increasingly militarized. We also know that corporate bosses and the politicians who serve them will not tolerate any real challenge to their power; they are determined to destroy the Occupy movement because it has become a truly effective and popular grassroots resistance. In the face of increasing corporate, state and police repression, we need to keep up our courage, struggle on and never give up.