Wednesday, November 14, 2007

From SDS

Solidarity Actions Needed!

Port of Olympia Shut Down by Anti-War Demonstrators; 19 People Arrested

The Port of Olympia in Washington State was shut down for nearly 20 hours
on Friday November 9th and Saturday November 10th by anti-war
demonstrators resisting the militarization of their port. On Monday
November 5th the USNS Brittin arrived in the Port of Olympia with material
and weapons from the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division Stryker Combat
Team. Demonstrations and actios were held against returning shipments
because these materials are coming through a "revolving door" before they
are shipped back to the frontlines.

Demonstrations were held in May 2006 against shipments from the very same
brigade as they went out through the Port of Olympia. The brigade is now
back but has lost 48 soldiers as a result of the war and is responsible
for an unknown number of Iraqi civilian deaths. Since then, other
demonstrations have been held at the ports in Aberdeen, WA and Tacoma
where a police riot erupted. Police have also actively been spying on
activists involved with port demilitarization efforts.

A group calling itself Port Militarization Resistance, Students for a
Democratic Society (SDS) in Olympia and other Northwest cities and
countless other community members, including Iraq War veterans, have been
involved with this most recent round of port actions. Direct action and
civil disobedience, including human road blockades and physical
barricades, have been used by demonstrators to attempt to block the
shipments from traveling through an already militarized town. These
actions lead to the successful shutdown of the port for nearly 20 hours
before police broke up the barricades and blockades with excessive force,
including the use of pepper spray, pepper balls, batons and brute force on
the demonstrators. Also, soldiers driving the Stryker vehicles at high
speeds almost ran over and killed a few demonstrators.

The demonstration was carried downtown after the barricades fell and
several intersections were occupied by human blockades and physical
barricades throughout the rest of the day. Police again violently attacked
demonstrators, bystanders, medics and reporters and photographers from The
Olympian newspaper. So far 19 people have been arrested for taking part in
the actions. Despite the violent police tactics and these arrests, people
from all walks of life and from various cities in the Northwest are coming
together to actively resist the war machine.

Demonstrators hope to further the demilitarization of Olympia in part
through actions at the port. They also encourage soldiers to actively
resist the war as Lt. Ehren Watada did who was inspired to do so by last
year's port actions in Olympia. Demonstrators are vowing to block the
shipments by any means necessary.

Olympia SDS contacts

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