On May 18th via the Tacoma Tribune, I was made aware of the fact that the Port of Olympia would soon be used to transport a military shipment to Iraq . Beginning the following day, I began walking Port Property, utilizing the observation deck, main gate and see-through fence to attempt guessing whether or not the Port was visibly preparing in any way for a shipment. On Monday, May 22, 2006 around 9:45am, I was standing on the observation deck on port property when I witnessed a military convey being escorted by the Olympia Police Department enter the Port of Olympia. I immediately telephoned ______ who arrived shortly thereafter.
A short time later a police officer approached me and asked whether or not I knew about any impending protests and I stated that I was more of an observer than an organizer. He said that he knew people who worked with ____ were generally well connected to the peace community and repeated his question. I stated that I did not know anything and he left. Within 3 minutes a Port Security officer approached. He waited for an older couple who were looking for the falcons that frequent the port cranes to leave the observation deck and then demanded that I leave. I was on the phone with ________ at the time, who was filming at another location. I asked Port Security why I needed to leave and he told me that he was closing the tower. I asked him whether or not the Port was public property. He repeated more aggressively that I needed to leave. I told him I had the right to be there as a citizen and he again stated I must exit the deck. It was 10:55am. I had a very important appointment at 11am and choose to leave rather than resist.
The fun part of all of this is that Drew Hendricks can go to the Port Commissioners' meeting, since the Tumwater Fire Station is not on Port Property. Whee!
The arraignment is a hearing of my plea in the case against me: I have to choose whether to plead guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendre, or "no contest." It won't be very long and it is unlikely I would need more than a couple of friends at such a hearing. It is not a trial, and I would not be put back in jail at that time if I plead innocent.
Meanwhile, the Port of Olympia will have a joint meeting with the City of Tumwater Council at the Tumwater Fire Station Training Room, located at 311 Israel Road SW in Tumwater. That meeting is next Monday, June 5th, at 7PM in the evening. It runs until 9PM and is intended to cover Tumwater's cooperation with the Port on issues related to the Airport, which the Port also owns and operates for the citizens of Thurston County.
The port protest made national headlines. This seems to have been due to the facts it was prolonged (ten days) and semi-violent, what with the police brutality and attempted taking down of the fence. The issue brought up, then, is this: was anything accomplished? One could make the argument that the very fact that it got violent obscures the point made by objecting to the war and the use of our port for shipping of weapons. This is, I believe, a valid statement, but one which leaves out quite a lot of what happened and why.
The port was being used for an illegal action by the U.S. government to continue an illegal and unjust war. The U.S. government and military exist only because we the people believe in them and rely on the money generated by our work (taxes) to function. Therefore, the port, ship and Strykers are OUR property. So what we were doing was stating that we were reclaiming our property and not allowing it to leave our port to go to fight a war the majority of this country's shareholders believe should end. To that end, the protest and semi violent protest that followed.
SEATTLE, June 1 — After nearly a week of protests intended to delay a large Navy cargo ship from sailing to the war in Iraq, the vessel sailed out of Olympia on time Wednesday, port officials said. But the protests, which were raucous at times, could portend a summer of escalating tensions in the port. Skip to next paragraph
The protests, which officials had described as peaceful, escalated on Tuesday when demonstrators clashed with the police, who fired pepper spray when some protesters tried to force their way into the port.
The police said 20 protesters, most from Evergreen State College here, were arrested earlier in the week on misdemeanor charges of attempted trespass and were then released. Two others were charged with a separate offense stemming from a clash with the police.
About 70 police officers in riot gear were deployed at the port, where the Pomeroy, a 950-foot cargo ship, was being loaded with material from nearby Army units bound for Iraq.
In the past week, the ship was greeted by 150 to 200 protesters who shouted at crew members and soldiers, and staged a so-called die-in to protest the war.
It is unpretentious, wildly creative, revolutionary, absurd, spiritual madness. Do you have a guess as to where I am going next with this? That's right... Olympia needs a visionary arts museum! We have millions of artists, many untapped. We already have a start with the Procession of the Species. We just need a building, a curator, and about ten more projects to sustain it." See the full post at What This Town Needs.
There will be a community-wide meeting to discuss the recent port protests and a planning session for long-term actions. This meeting will take place on SATURDAY JUNE 3, at 2pm, at the FREE SCHOOL (610 Columbia St.).
Anyone interested in anti-war organizing in the Thurston County region should attend.
Childcare will be provided.