Olympia residents gathered at the gates of the Port of Olympia tonight to protest the return of military vehicles from the war in Iraq. The military vehicles are part of the Stryker Brigade from nearby Fort Lewis. Olympia residents came out tonight to continue protesting military shipments through the port that began in May 2006.
The protests were festive at times with a dance party on one street corner. A mobile sound system provided music for the dance party. Sometimes the dance party circled the intersection with people dancing in the street.
A small group of military supporters stood on the opposite street corner of the anti-war protests. Military supporters could be heard congratulating the troops driving the Stryker vehicles. Police stood in the middle of the street guarding the port gate.
At times convoys of Stryker vehicles would leave the port. Police would fan out to create a barrier between anti-war protests and the convoys.
During one convoy, a group of less than ten people locked arms and sat in the road. Within a moment, dozens of other people locked arms while sitting in the Stryker’s way.
The convoy changed directions and headed down Market Street toward Capital Way. Police responded by shoving people with their batons onto the sidewalk.
People continued organizing small protests to stop the Stryker vehicles. One group stopped the convoy for a minute by standing in the road. People made small barricades on Capital Way out of found objects and garbage cans.
More protests may continue tonight and tomorrow.