May Day marchers lost their message to rioters

Organizers say they will have another May Day march in 2018

Hundreds of people marched peacefully before a May Day riot broke out, May 1, 2017 (KOIN)
Hundreds of people marched peacefully before a May Day riot broke out, May 1, 2017 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — When a riot broke out almost instantaneously during a May Day march in downtown Portland, many marchers had to stop and find a way back to where they started as police cleared the streets.

Organizers of the event were very disappointed with losing out on their event they had planned for months. Their message was lost as the riot became the story.

Some organizations like labor unions march on the International Workers Day. They’re upset a small group went on a rampage and took away the focus from families gathered to support worker and immigrant rights.

But one of the leaders of the Portland May Day march puts some of the blame for what happened on police tactics.

“I know that people are blaming groups in the community but I would say we are very frustrated,” said Marco Meijia with the May Day Coalition, “because from the beginning of the march I think that the role of the police was a little bit too much, provoking a little bit.”

Other groups told KOIN 6 News they hope there is better communication next time. Those in the front of the march had no idea of the chaos in the back when police canceled the permit and ordered them off the streets.

Several organizations that took part say they intend to meet with police to talk about how to keep this from happening again — and they do intend to have another May Day march in 2018.

Hundreds of people marched peacefully before a May Day riot broke out, May 1, 2017 (KOIN)
Hundreds of people marched peacefully before a May Day riot broke out, May 1, 2017 (KOIN)