Fw: Tacoma police fire tear gas, rubber bullets at sitting protesters singing "Give Peace a Chance"

FYI  On Stryker and Iraq war resistance in Washington State
Jim Albertini
Malu `Aina Center For Non-violent Education & Action
P.O. Box AB
`Ola`a (Kurtistown), Hawaii 96760
Phone 808-966-7622
email ja@interpac.net
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, March 11, 2007 10:55 AM
Subject: Tacoma police fire tear gas, rubber bullets at sitting protesters singing "Give Peace a Chance"

Fyi. This was sent to me this morning by my friend Zoltan Grossman in Olympia, WA.
Please circulate this news story as widely as possible.
Paul Cienfuegos

Subject: Tacoma police fire tear gas, rubber bullets at sitting protesters singing "Give Peace a Chance"
Date: Sun, 11 Mar 2007 10:11:01 -0700
From: "Grossman, Zoltan" <grossmaz@evergreen.edu>


Port Militarization Resistance release #7
Saturday, March 10, 2007       
Contact: Linda Frank 253-537-1405 workforjustice@comcast.net
Sandy Mayes 360-956-1136 sandy@zhonka.net

YouTube videos:
(Please comment on and rate the videos)

As Resistance to Stryker Shipment Grows, Police Turn Violent on Peaceful Protesters

Following an afternoon rally at the Federal Courthouse in Tacoma on Friday, members
of Port Militarization Resistance staged a peaceful demonstration at the Port of
Tacoma, where they were met by Tacoma Police.  Later, police turned violent and
launched tear gas and rubber bullets at activists as they sat chanting peace slogans.

Tacoma, WA, March 10, 2007 ?  Activists opposed to a military shipment bound for
Iraq continued their week long campaign with a rally in downtown Tacoma and a demonstration
at the Port of Tacoma.   They are protesting the deployment of a Ft. Lewis-based
Stryker brigade deploying to Iraq as part of the US escalation of the conflict.

At an afternoon rally at the Federal Courthouse, anti-war activists from throughout
Western Washington and Oregon held signs and listened to speakers denounce the US
mission in Iraq and call for active resistance to the escalation.

Among those at the Port of Tacoma Friday night was TJ Johnson, an Olympia City councilman
who is a part of Olympia Port Militarization Resistance.  Johnson, the winner of
the 2006 Dr. Paul Beeson award from Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility
and a well-known anti-nuclear activist, told the crowd "We have a moral obligation
and a growing sense of urgency to make it clear that we want to keep soldiers safe
at home, and spend our tax dollars to meet humanitarian needs, here and in the Middle

Also speaking at the rally was Lynn Stewart, a nationally renowned New York civil
rights attorney.

After the rally hundreds of activists from Bellingham, Port Townsend, South Sound
and Portland converged on the Port of Tacoma to continue to demonstrate their opposition
to the military shipments.  The large crowd vowed to continue the protest, and has
issued a broad appeal to opponents of the war to come to Tacoma to join in this
public demonstration of dissent from the Bush administration's Iraq policy.

Later in the evening one of the activists was arrested for trying to enter the protest
zone with a backpack full of food and medical supplies. Police said Tom McCarthy
of Tacoma had violated a police ban on backpacks in the area, and they confiscated
his backpack.  A large crowd gathered, challenging the arrest just before 11:37
pm.  Police continue to  refuse backpacks inside the designated "protest zone" even
after repeated admonitions from at least two attorneys citing Ninth Circuit legal
precedent determining that such bans violate Fourth Amendment privacy rights.

According to Mark Jensen of Pierce United for Peace and Justice,  "Around midnight,
the crowd was still growing.  As police donned gas masks and distributed ammunition
for crowd control, an additional unit of about 70 riot police made up of personnel
from various nearby police departments arrived by bus. Massing near a fence on 11th
Ave around 1:00 am, a few young people tested its strength, causing it to swing
wildly. Police fired what one person believed to be pepper spray, briefly scattering
the crowd while police moved quickly to reinforce the fence."

Demonstrators then began walking away from the fence and south on Thorne Ave.  
Jensen reports that "We went on a long march back around to another access point.
There were at least 250 people chanting the entire time while a police car in reverse
and one moving forward paced the head of the pack as we advanced."

When demonstrators reached the other access point following a one mile walk, they
were met with a large police presence.  The police were in full riot gear, including
gas masks.

Some of the demonstrators crossed a yellow tape-line police set up, sat down and
began chanting and singing songs.  According to Phan Nguyen, a member of Olympia
Port Militarization Resistance, "At this point riot police responded by launching
multiple volleys of tear gas and rapid firing rubber bullets into the crowd."

Independent media videographers were present, and films of the event have already
been posted on www.youtube.com.  Local television stations that have been covering
the Port of Tacoma demonstrations were not present Friday night.

Despite the police violence on Friday, demonstrators have no plans to discontinue
their campaign.  "The fact that they had to choose a different, less accessible
port and then sneak the equipment in under cover of darkness shows just how little
public support there is for the ongoing quagmire in Iraq" said Wes Hamilton, a Vietnam
veteran and member of the Olympia chapter of Veterans for Peace.  He added, "The
best way to support the troops is to prevent them from being placed into the midst
of a civil war where they have a high risk of killing or being killed.  We have
a moral and humanitarian obligation to resist the use of our port."

The port resistance campaign has been endorsed by the Veterans for Peace #109 (Rachel
Corrie Chapter), Olympia Chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War, Green Party of
South Puget Sound, Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace, Students for a Democratic
Society, Olympia Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Committee, United for Peace
Pierce County, Students for a Democratic Society, the Alliance for Democracy, the
Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace, and the Movement Against War and Occupation
in Vancouver BC.

One YouTube link where video of Port of Tacoma actions are being posted is here:
Two specific clips so far are:

For more information contact:

Wes Hamilton

Molly Gibbs

Caitlin Esworthy

TJ Johnson

Sandy Mayes

Phan Nguyen

Tom McCarthy

Patrick Edelbacher


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