The Corner

Politics & Policy

May Day Riots Rock the Pacific Northwest

Rioters involved in May Day demonstrations wreaked havoc on some parts of the west coast yesterday. In Portland, Oregon, anarchist marchers used the annual “worker’s holiday” to start fires, detonate smoke bombs and Molotov cocktails, destroy cars, and attack police officers with projectiles:

Police canceled their protest permit due to the increasing violence, and they ultimately made 25 arrests.

The chaos was not limited to Oregon. In Olympia, Washington, police reported rioters “firing rocks from slingshots” and vandalizing buildings. The police used nonlethal weapons to try to control the mob, but nine officers were injured as rioters detonated incendiary devices and continued firing projectiles, while shouting “F*** the police”:

Five were also arrested in the state’s largest city, Seattle. Protests elsewhere in the country yielded less damage and only a few arrests. Rioters also made news in Europe, as around 150 of them in Paris used Molotov cocktails, rocks, and sticks to injure six police officers. One officer suffered third-degree burns to his face and hands.

As rioting continues to occur in tandem with political protests, the risk to human life grows. This morning, Portland mayor Ted Wheeler said, “In Portland we respect peaceful protest, but we do not and cannot support acts of violence and vandalism. That’s not political speech. That’s crime.” Statements such as Wheeler’s are important. But it is far more important that protest groups take action within their own ranks. Notably, the anarchist group that started the riot was an official partner with protest’s organizers, not an unknown agent. Far-left activists are conspicuously ineffective at containing violent elements, which take control of ostensibly “peaceful” protests with alarming regularity.

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