May Day protesters charged after Wed. night mayhem

May Day protesters charged after Wed. night mayhem »Play Video
A Seattle Police officer swings his baton at protesters during a May Day march that began as an anti-capitalism protest and turned into demonstrators clashing with police, Wednesday, May 1, 2013, in downtown Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
SEATTLE - Seattle city prosecutors are filing charges against people arrested during a May Day protest in Seattle.

The City Attorney's Office said Thursday six people who spent the night in the King County Jail face misdemeanor charges that include obstructing officers, resisting arrest, property damage and failure to disperse.

Three who bailed out of the jail could be charged later, and five others were expected to make their initial appearances in King County Superior Court to face more serious charges later Thursday.

A woman who was the first to appear in court on Thursday appeared to have sustained injuries. She was released on her own recognizance.

In all 17 people were arrested after the "anti-capitalism" demonstration turned violent, with protesters pelting police with rocks and bottles and police firing flash-bang grenades and pepper spray.

Resisting arrest is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Obstruction of an officer, property damage and failure to disperse are gross misdemeanors, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.

Several dozen protesters, many using bandanas to cover their faces, began clashing with police in downtown Seattle around 7 p.m., hours after a peaceful immigrant-rights march ended Wednesday evening.

The march wound its way downtown on Pike Street towards the downtown retail core, where demonstrators began shoving and attacking reporters as they provided live on-air reports from the event.

Shortly after that, demonstrators ignited a smoke device, spewing orange pinkish smoke throughout the block.

After demonstrators began damaging property, throwing fireworks and rocks at officers, police formed a line to prevent the marchers from moving any further into the retail core or on to the Interstate 5 on-ramps.

Watch: Protesters, police clash in streets of Westlake


Protesters then began throwing metal rods and full water bottles at officers and business windows, and officers moved in and made arrests.

Protesters threw rocks and bottles at police officers and news crews. As they moved through downtown Seattle to another neighborhood, they flung construction street barriers, trash cans and newspaper bins on the streets in an attempt to stop police officers.

Windows of businesses were broken and vehicles with people in them were banged around.

Police used their bikes to shield businesses and eventually began to use pepper spray and "flash bang' grenades - releasing a flash of light, smoke and a loud noise - to disperse the crowd. But that pushed the group to another nearby neighborhood, and they left a wake of overturned trash cans and debris on the street.

Eight officers sustained injuries, mostly bumps and bruises with the exception of one female officer who was struck in the knee by a fist-sized rock.

A woman driving by the scene of one of the protests was injured when a protester hurled a glass bottle at her car, shattering her window. The woman sustained cuts from broken glass and was treated at the scene by medics.

Officers endured a barrage of rocks and bottles throughout the melee until the crowd finally did disperse around 9 p.m.