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Seattle's downtown merchants getting ready for May Day

May Day is almost here, and while the workers' rights rallies can attract thousands, the event can also bring flashpoints of violence. That’s got downtown merchants making preparations. (Photo: KOMO News file)

SEATTLE – May Day is almost here, and while the workers' rights rallies can attract thousands, the event can also bring flashpoints of violence. That’s got downtown merchants making preparations.

Business owners say May Day always comes with consequences.

“When protests take place, shoppers flee that area," said Scott Darlage, the owner of Loft 63.

Past years have sometimes come with property damage, as rogue groups smashed shop windows, bashed cars and blocked traffic.

“Corner store and another around the corner, they broke the windows," said Jin Lee, who owns Tower Deli & Sundries.

However, this year Lee believes things will be different, and he plans to keep his doors open.

Westlake Center will also stay open, even though anarchists have used the park across the street as a staging ground. One woman said she visits that same park nearly every day, and won't let a demonstration keep her away.

“I would continue with my day, how I do it every day,” said Alison Contreras.

The Downtown Seattle Association has been holding meetings to prepare retailers on how to respond if there is any trouble, and at this point staffers remain hopeful.

“Our confidence is that Seattle police are well prepared for whatever should come their way on May 1 this year."

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