Officials in Olympia say they are prepared for Tuesday's May Day demonstrations after protesters last year broke storefront windows, threw rocks at police and fought with onlookers in downtown.
In a letter to area businesses last week, City Manager Steve Hall wrote that "destruction will not be tolerated and arrests will be made accordingly."
“(Olympia Police Department) and other City staff have been connecting with local businesses. However, for obvious reason, we will not be sharing the details of the Police Department’s planning,” Hall wrote.
Traditionally an occasion to celebrate workers' rights, May Day is sometimes marked with disruptive protests in the Northwest. Last year's demonstration in Olympia was the largest the city has seen in recent years.
Police said 75 to 100 people marched through downtown, blocking traffic and throwing rocks, bottles, fireworks and smoke bombs. Most covered their faces with bandanas or masks, and several carried shields made from cut-up plastic garbage cans or plywood.
Police threw flash bangs and pepper balls into the crowd, and nine people were arrested.
Damage to downtown businesses — including US Bank, Olympia Federal Savings Bank and Starbucks on Capitol Way — was estimated at $60,000.
A city spokeswoman said business owners this year are worried about a repeat.
“They were asking (us) and they were nervous given what happened last year,” said Kellie Purce Braseth, the city’s strategic communications director. “We’re perfectly happy to facilitate peaceful protest on the day … but being real clear that the kind of violence and destruction that happened last year will not be tolerated.”
Police said it is unclear how many protesters will show up on Tuesday. Anarchists have called for “decentralized” actions across the region, including in Olympia.
Olympia's branch of the Industrial Workers of the World plans to host an International Workers' Day celebration at Sylvester Park starting at 3 p.m. The group held a similar event last year.