Superheroes V. Anarchists: Police Scanner Tracks Seattle May Day

May 2, 2014

May Day was supposed to be huge in Seattle this year. Television crews dispatched choppers. Police officers stood at almost every corner, poised for action. It was hot, about 88 degrees, a perfect day for a march.

Violence didn’t materialize as it did last year, but as dispatches from the Seattle Police scanner demonstrated, the protesters didn’t disappoint.

“We have about six of the superheroes in their PJs following the anarchists, er, protesters,” an officer said over the scanner.

"We have about six of the superheroes in their PJs following the anarchists, er, protesters."

At one point, the superheroes went to blows with the anarchists. A superhero threw the first punch after being doused with silly string, according to Gabe Spitzer of KPLU Public Radio. Cops broke it up. No arrests.

A few marchers were spotted hiding in the bushes; two others wearing Guy Fawkes masks were late and approached officers for directions. The officers, according to Eli Sanders of the Stranger, politely pointed them in the right direction.

One marcher carried a neon pink bat. Police confiscated it, tagged it, photographed it and sent the image to media. Why, it wasn’t clear.

Nor was it clear why, as the sun set, some marchers shed their all-black attire for sports coats and ties.

Over the scanner, an officer reported there were about 1,500 marching. Another officer asked, dryly, if that included police. Silence. Several minutes later, a new estimate: about 600 actual marchers.

The march seemed to wind like a caterpillar, inching from Capitol Hill to downtown and back again.

“Crowd now stopping at @DicksDriveIns on Broadway,” Seattle Police’s twitter feed reported, referring to the popular burger joint. Every tweet that evening seemed to note a new turning point. A few sprinkled in mentioned arrests, of which there were 10 total.

And then, finally: “March now back where it started 3 hours ago at Broadway and Pine.”

Reporters had grown tired. Photographer Joshua Trujillo of Seattlepi.com noted that he had walked 12 miles that day. Seattle Times reporter Mike Baker tweeted: "This is the longest protest ever. Should call it the Anarchist 10K. Do some breast cancer fundraising or something."

[View the story "May Day 2014" on Storify]