"May Day has historically been a very busy day for SPD," says Seattle Police Captain Todd Kibbee.
The day has caused severe chaos and mayhem in previous years, but most recently there hasn't been much trouble from anarchists who have rioted in the past. But even if it's another year of peaceful protests, it brings up issues of breaking social distancing barriers, similar to what we saw two weeks ago in Olympia when hundreds gathered together.
"We are hoping that most people take that order to heart and don't come downtown," says Capt. Kibbee. The issue in the past has never been with the permitted march, it's always been the extremists who come out with much warning. SPD says they don't anticipate they'll run into that tomorrow, but they're still prepared.
If they have to make arrests because people commit crimes, they will, but if people just gather in large groups and violate social distancing-SPD won't enforce it other than asking for voluntary compliance. Fortunately, they already have that compliance from organizers of the permitted march who will instead be doing a caravan this year from Seattle to the state capitol. Organizers say they will respect and continue to completely follow Governor Inslee's guidelines, but they have a message for him: "We believe he forgot 250,000 undocumented families here in the state," says Jorge Quiroga, one of the marches organizers of El Comite.
The march always highlights the issue of undocumented workers unable to get any government assistance, whether it be unemployment, social security, or welfare-despite the fact that they pay taxes. But this year, it feels heightened. "I think today the general community will be able to understand us because today you feel afraid, insecure or all this Coronavirus, we feel afraid we feel insecure because we don't know what is happening tomorrow, that feeling is what undocumented families have every day."
It's not just that undocumented people can't get stimulus checks, Quiroga says so many essential workers we depend on now more than ever are undocumented. "In this special time when we are all needing our front line workers and appreciating them, its time the state to also recognize them, appreciate them, and provide help for the families."
If you plan to be part of the caravan tomorrow, organizers with El Comite ask that you please stay in your car. While they want their message heard, they don't want anyone to put their health or others at risk.