- Port Militarization Resistance
in 2006 and 2007.
trategy and tactics
While attempts are made to appeal to local governing bodies to cease military shipments, many PMR members and port action participants believe these avenues have largely been exhausted. [http://www.olywip.org/site/page/article/2006/06/02.html "A Statement From the Newly Formed Port Militarization Resistance"] , Port Militarization Resistance, June 2006] [ [http://www.olywip.org/site/page/article/2007/04/11.html "Interview with TJ Johnson"] , Ross Reynolds, Works In Progress, April 2007] Thus, PMR the organization and adherents of the PMR strategy focus on
direct action, a political philosophy which relies on circumventing the authority of elected officials.
Tactics used in PMR actions vary, and have included each of the following:
* Human blockades and locking arms
civil disobediencesuch as ignoring police-designated "free-speech zones"
* Soft-arrest demonstrations
* Physical road blockades
* Unpermitted marches
* Property damage.
While each of the above listed tactics has been used at PMR hosted protests, PMR does not necessarily endorse each of those, and organizers have from time to time spoken out against various actions taken at its protests. [http://www.olywip.org/site/page/article/2007/12/01.html "Blocking the Strykers: Thirteen Days of War Resistance at the Port of Olympia"] , Sandy Mayes, Works In Progress, December 2007]
It has also been suggested by port action participants that one of PMR's most effective tactics is the forcing of local jurisdictions to escalate their security expenses during the shipments, making the shipments less valuable.
Port Militarization Resistance has encouraged participants to engage in a mixture of
direct actionand indirect actionfor the purposes of obstructing military shipments. PMR has at times acted as a cohesive unit, and at other times has encouraged members to organize into affinity groups.
Port Militarization Resistance has issued statements committing itself to non-violence. This commitment includes refusals to engage in things like "verbal harassment" and "malicious sabotage." [ [http://www.omjp.org/PMRNonViolenceFeb07.txt "Port Militarization Resistance Code/Statement of Non-Violence"] , Port Militarization Resistance, 18 February 2007] While the organization has never been involved in any act in violation of this commitment, not all participants in port actions consider themselves aligned with PMR the organization, and some have engaged in actions which would be in violation of PMR's commitment to non-violence.
Pre-PMR port actions
The basic strategy of Port Militarization Resistance is not new to the anti-Iraq War movement. During the
Vietnam War, sailors and anti-war activists petitioned local governments to prevent deployments and shipments out of local ports.
Not long after the start of the
Iraq War, activists engaged in protests at the Port of Oakland. Police responded by firing wooden pellets and concussion grenades at protesters and longshore workers alike, sending several people to the hospital. [ [http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0407-07.htm "Police Violence Shocks Activists, Others at Port of Oakland Protest"] , Dana Hull, San Jose Mercury News, 7 April 2003]
Port of Olympiawas used several times to ship equipment to Iraqbefore the formation of Port Militarization Resistance. In November 2004, an announcement by the Olympia Movement for Justice and Peaceindicated the intent to protest one such shipment. [ [http://www.omjp.org/PortMilitarization14Nov04.doc "Port Military Shipment - Information and Planned Response"] , Alice Zillah, Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace, 14 November 2004] Daily vigils were organized around the port by OMJP. On the night of 18 November, individuals unaffiliated with OMJP gathered around the port fence, cutting a large hole in it, prompting heightened security measures. [ [http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/11/303881.shtml "Olympia Protests the Militarization of the Port, and the Iraq Occupation"] , Julie Frank, Portland IndyMedia, 19 November 2004] [ [http://www.zmag.org/Sustainers/Content/2004-12/04bohmer.cfm "Building a Movement Against the Shipment of Weapons to Iraq"] , Peter Bohmer, ZNet, 4 December 2004] Some witnesses have claimed this breach in security prompted the USNS Cape Intrepid to leave early and without all its intended cargo, while the military maintains there was no disruption to its operations. [ [http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=04/11/19/2646466 "The Ship Went Away... People Power Prevails"] , Admin, Infoshop News, 19 November 2004]
The following week, anti-war activists packed a meeting of the Port of Olympia Commissioners expressing opposition to the military shipments, only to discover the Commissioners had already decided to continue military shipments in the future. [ [http://www.olyblog.net/blog/wallycuddeford/blast-from-the-past "Public Split on Army's Port Use"] , Jim Szymanski, The Olympian, 23 November 2004] Contracted vessels continued to ship equipment and munitions to Iraq through the Port of Olympia a few more times over the next several months. While each of these shipments were met with passive protest, no
direct actionoccurred until May 2006.
Port of Olympia - May 2006
, as well as various munitions and unlabeled equipment. Despite prior shipments being met with passive protest, press accounts at the time indicate no resistance to the convoys were expected. [ [http://www.theolympian.com/112/story/50867.html "Strykers file into port for shipment to Iraq"] , Jim Szymanski, The Olympian, 23 May 2006]
While some demonstrations and arrests occurred in the first two days, the first major actions occurred on 24 May. Several people lined across the road in a human chain, obstructing the path of a
Strykerconvoy. Several participants reported they were mishandled by police. [ [http://www.omjp.org/NikkiArrest.txt "Account of Arrest at Port"] , Nikki Miller, 24 May 2006] A detour was forced when Olympia police proved unable to move one of the blockade participants, Ultimate Fighting champion Jeff Monson, out of the street. [ [http://community.livejournal.com/anarchists/1812280.html "Blockade"] , Wally Cuddeford, 12 June 2006] The second attempt to enter the port quay was successful after Olympia police parted a line of protesters linked with PVC pipes. [http://antiauthoritarian.net/NLN/current/dunn_olympia.html "Throwing a Wrench in the War Machine: Olympia SDS is Born of the Struggle at the Port of Olympia"] , Brendan Dunn, Next Left Notes]
The protests, blockade attempts, and arrests continued sporadically for the next several days. Tent cities were established near the port grounds. Protesters reportedly kept constant watch on the port grounds, even after the Strykers finished convoying in. During this time, participants report being followed by police, even away from the scene of the protest.
The protests intensified on 29 May as participants expected the USNS Pomeroy to arrive that evening. After night fell, protesters lined along the Port of Olympia fence and began shaking it. Police then deployed pepper spray into the crowd on two occasions. Demonstrators then marched through downtown Olympia before breaking up for the night.
At 4:00 pm on 30 May, several demonstrators, many of them masked, gathered at a busy intersection in Olympia. From this intersection, the crowd marched to the front gate of the Port of Olympia, chanting "Port of Olympia! Tear it down! Port of Olympia! Tear it down!" Members of the crowd tore down the front gate of the port, and several people ran in and laid down in the entranceway. Police jabbed participants with batons, and maced several more before arresting those who would not disperse. 22 people were arrested. [ [http://drupal.zhonka.net/olyblog/blog/wallycuddeford/tear-it-down "Tear It Down"] , Wally Cuddeford, OlyBlog, 6 June 2006] Many other demonstrators remained near the port the remainder of the evening, draping banners on the public port watchtower and building an art display around it. The police attacked the crowd again that evening with pepper spray and rubber bullets. One individual was reportedly struck with a Taser.
In the late afternoon of 31 May, the USNS Pomeroy departed the Port of Olympia for Iraq with all its cargo aboard. Protesters staged a die-in on the bank of
Budd Inlet, and shared final words in wrapping the May 2006 Port of Olympia protests to a close. There were no arrests nor any reports of police actions that day. [ [http://www.omjp.org/Olympian01June06.txt "Ship Leaves Olympia Amid Protesters' Finale"] , Scott Gutierrez, The Olympian, 1 June 2006]
A total of 37 arrests were made during the May 2006 round of port protests. [ [http://www.olywip.org/site/page/article/2006/11/02.html "Olympia 22 Win Initial Court Battle: First Iraq War Protest Case To Be Allowed To Argue 'Defense of Necessity'"] , Works In Progress, November 2006] The estimated cost of security for the port was just over $14,000. As of March 2007, it was not yet decided whether the bill would be covered by the military, the city of Olympia, or the
Port of Olympia. [ [http://www.theolympian.com/news/story/69518.html "Port May Get Bill for Police Presence"] , Matt Batcheldor, The Olympian, 9 March 2007]
Supporters and critics of Port Militarization Resistance alike see the protests at the Port of Olympia in May 2006 as setting the stage for all future port protests. This round is cited as being the origin of the organization Port Militarization Resistance, as well as that of the Olympia chapter of Students for a Democratic Society, based at the
Evergreen State College.
Port of Tacoma - March 2007
Beginning 2 March 2007, Stryker vehicles and other equipment from the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, based out of
Fort Lewis, was convoyed onto the grounds of the Port of Tacoma, to be loaded onto the Iraq-bound USNS Soderman. Protests began on the Port of Tacoma grounds late at night on 3/4 March, and concluded the afternoon of 15 March, two days after the USNS Soderman's departure. Protests largely happened in the middle of the night, as the military chose to run its convoys at night instead of during the day.
After the May 2006 protests concluded, many people anticipated and announced that similar protests would coincide with the next major war shipment leaving Fort Lewis. Many of these announcements were made even before the time and location of these shipments had been announced. [ [http://www.omjp.org/SpeechCityCouncilJune06.doc "Remarks to City Council"] , Carrie Lybecker, 6 June 2006] [ [http://www.theolympian.com/news/story/67681.html "War Activists Plan New Round of Port Protests"] , Christian Hill, The Olympian, 26 February 2007] Port Militarization Resistance organizers expected the shipments to return through the Port of Olympia. [ [http://www.olywip.org/site/page/article/2007/03/01.html "Port Militarization Resistance: We Must Act Locally and Directly To Stop the US Occupation of Iraq"] , Molly Gibbs, Works In Progress, March 2007]
three times as he was pinned down. [ [http://www.omjp.org/PMRPressRelease05Mar07.txt "PMR Press Release #4"] , Port Militarization Resistance, 5 March 2007]
Over the next several days, protests over the shipments spread across Tacoma. [ [http://www.omjp.org/artTacDailyIndex07Mar07.txt "War Protesters Move from Port to Downtown, City Hall"] , Tacoma Daily Index, 7 March 2007] Several more people were arrested or threatened with arrest. A legal observer was arrested for approaching a police officer to ask a question. A previous arrestee was again arrested at a Tacoma City Council meeting for speaking too long. [ [http://www.omjp.org/artOlympian07Mar07.txt "Olympia Residents Won’t Be Charged In Tacoma Protest, Prosecutor Says"] , Christian Hill, The Olympian, 7 March 2007] And a PMR videographer, while filming legally, was ordered to turn off his camera or else it would be broken. [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMDW4Fszj2U "Film Is Not a Crime"] , Joseph La Sac, YouTube, 7 March 2007] Also, police instituted a ban on backpacks in the protest area, arresting one individual for defying the ban. [http://www.omjp.org/PRPMR10Mar07.txt "PMR Press Release"] , Port Militarization Resistance, 10 March 2007]
The night of Friday, 9 March, not long after the USNS Soderman arrived, the next major incident of this round of port protests occurred. Demonstrators marched through the Port of Tacoma grounds until they came to a line of police, at which point they stopped and sat down. Protesters report that police then shot rubber bullets at them at point blank range and fired tear gas canisters at them as artillery. [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfhUaUuG1sM "Give Peace A Chance---Tacoma Police Riot"] , Joseph La Sac, YouTube, 10 March 2007] [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hIIuJK_Uh8 "Port of Tacoma Police Riot -- Camera #2"] , Joseph La Sac, YouTube, 10 March 2007] [http://www.olywip.org/site/page/article/2007/04/09.html "Port of Tacoma: Eleven Days of Resistance"] , Wally Cuddeford, Works In Progress, April 2007] A police spokesperson had claimed protesters had provoked this response, however video released later showed the spokesperson to be lying. [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyYDYVosjYE "Tacoma SDS Interviews Tacoma PD"] , Joseph La Sac, YouTube, 13 March 2007]
On the afternoon of Sunday, 11 March, Port Militarization Resistance organized a non-violent civil disobedience action. This action was coordinated with
Tacomapolice. The first wave involved 8 people bringing backpacks containing such items as the U.S. Constitutioninto the no-backpack zone. The second wave involved 15 people reading a Citizens' Injunction against the war, climbing over police barricades, and being subsequently soft-arrested. [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7w9HrDJEN58 "Peaceful Protesters Arrested at the Port Of Tacoma 3-11-07"] , 143tbone, YouTube, 12 March 2007]
Protesters returned to the Port of Tacoma tideflats on the evening of 12 March. After a rally described "peaceful" by a Tacoma police detective, police began firing tear gas into the crowd of protesters, chasing them to the edge of the port grounds. [ [http://www.omjp.org/artNewsTribune13Mar07.txt "Five arrested for refusing to leave during overnight protest at port"] , Stacey Mulick, Tacoma News Tribune, 13 March 2007] [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IgCqT99xYE "Port of Tacoma 3-12-07 #2"] , Rob Richards, YouTube, 15 March 2007] Protesters had to negotiate with police to be allowed back on port grounds to retrieve their cars.
The USNS Soderman left early in the morning of 13 March. Port Militarization Resistance organizers agreed to carry through with demonstrations they had already scheduled. [http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/307520_protest15.html "Port of Tacoma Anti-War Protesters Unbowed"] , Amy Rolph, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 15 March 2007] The March 2007 Port of Tacoma protests concluded with a vigil the afternoon of 15 March, in which a coffin was carried in a funeral march to the gate of the port quay. [ [http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2007/03/355642.shtml "Mourn for Iraq at the Port Of Tacoma"] , Port Militarization Resistance, Portland IndyMedia, 14 March 2007] All told, 37 arrests were made.
Throughout the protests, PMR organizers made use of
Internetmedia, especially the website YouTube. On some occasions, video of objectionable police behavior was viewable online only a few hours after it occurred. One video, "Film Is Not a Crime," was instrumental in inspiring the only internal investigation began by the Tacoma Police Department in regards to the protests. [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWmLufB6Bsw "Film Is Not A Crime --- King5 Interview"] , KING 5, YouTube, 10 March 2007] [ [http://www.omjp.org/artNewsTribune09Mar07.txt "Police Investigate Run-In with Videographer"] , Adam Lynn, Tacoma News Tribune, 9 March 2007]
The increased police presence cost the city of
Tacomaan unbudgeted $500,000. The city is considering sending the bill for the extra security to the military. [ [http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/310078_protest03.html "Anti-war protests cost Tacoma $500,000"] , Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 2 April 2007]
The city of
Tacomahas instructed its Citizen Review Panel to investigate allegations of police misconduct at the Port of Tacoma. Except for the "Film Is Not a Crime" incident, the city has said it will not investigate individual allegations of misconduct, citing police union contracts. [ [http://www.omjp.org/artNewsTrib01Ap07.txt "Police Conduct At Port Will Get Citizen Review"] , Kris Sherman, Tacoma News Tribune, 1 April 2007]
In the months after the March 2007 protests at the Port of Tacoma, PMR organizers claimed they had ended military shipments through the Port of Olympia, basing this conclusion on the fact that the military had chosen to go through the Port of Tacoma instead of the Port of Olympia. [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZN39212vw8 "Wally on Port Militarization Resistance in Olympia"] , Shane Finneran, YouTube, 18 September 2007] However, the Stryker shipments would return to the Port of Olympia a few months later.
Port of Olympia - November 2007
On 5 November 2007, the USNS Brittin arrived at the Port of Olympia, returning equipment from use in the
Iraq War. This equipment, belonging to the 3rd Brigade 2nd Infantry Division, was the same equipment shipped out through the Port of Olympia in May 2006. [http://www.theolympian.com/news/story/263313.html "Protesters of Port Vow to Stop Cargo’s Fort Lewis Return"] , Christian Hill, The Olympian, 6 November 2007] Although Port Militarization Resistance had earlier said they would not obstruct the return of equipment, the group changed its mind in response to the shipment. PMR adopted a policy of "containment" of the equipment, citing health concerns and the wish to obstruct the refurbishment process. [http://www.theolympian.com/southsound/story/266417.html "Continuing Protests Cost City"] , Jeremy Pawloski, The Olympian, 9 November 2007]
. Protests continued every day thereafter, and on many evenings. [ [http://www.theolympian.com/news/story/264386.html "Movement of Military Gear Starts Today"] , Jeremy Pawloski, The Olympian, 7 November 2007]
The first arrests of protest participants were made Wednesday evening. Olympia police reported two demonstrators were arrested for attempting to block the convoys leaving the port grounds. Protest participants claim police used excessive force that evening. [ [http://www.theolympian.com/news/story/265490.html "Two Arrested In Protest Scuffles; Convoys Roll On"] , Christian Hill and Jeremy Pawloski, The Olympian, 8 November 2007] On the evening of 8 November, another individual was arrested, this time for trespassing after he had successfully bluffed his way past the Port of Olympia security gate. [ [http://www.theolympian.com/news/story/278596.html "Port Trespass Charge Dismissed"] , Jeremy Pawloski, The Olympian, 22 November 2007]
Beginning 3:00 pm on Friday, 9 November, around 40 protesters established a human blockade of all traffic in and out of the port for the rest of the day and into Saturday. This traffic included at least two trucks with military equipment. [http://www.theolympian.com/news/story/267442.html "Protesters Stop Military Transport, Delay Work"] , Jeremy Pawloski, The Olympian, 10 November 2007] One truck driver reportedly tried to push his way through the line of protesters, but was unable. [ [http://publish.seattle.indymedia.org/en/2007/11/262652.shtml "Urgent! Action at Port of Olympia"] , David Griffiths, Seattle IndyMedia, 9 November 2007] Protesters began erecting physical barricades on the roads, using fences, signs, garbage bins and cinder blocks, in an attempt to continue the blockade of the port through the night. [http://youtube.com/watch?v=07ip9LDH7JU "Stop Wars -- A Day of Struggle in Olympia"] , Joseph La Sac, YouTube, 12 November 2007] The Olympia police, citing lack of personnel, did not respond until the next morning.
At 9:45 am on Saturday, 10 November, Olympia police began to clear the front gate of protesters. Police began deploying pepper spray, pushing people with batons, and at times even picked up and threw people out of the road. Activists reported police sprayed people directly in the eyes, and even removed protesters' goggles to do so. [http://www.theolympian.com/news/story/268251.html "Protests Spread Beyond Port Into Downtown Olympia"] , Jeremy Pawloski and Diane Huber, The Olympian, 11 November 2007] [http://www.omjp.org/PROlyPMR10Nov07.doc "Thirteen Arrested While Containing Military Convoys Traveling Through Olympia; Community Brutalized by Olympia Police Department"] , Port Militarization Resistance, 10 November 2007] Reports indicate several bystanders were also hit with pepper spray for law-abiding behavior. [ [http://www.theolympian.com/news/story/268259.html "Bystanders Get Close View of Confrontations ... Sometimes Too Close"] , Jeremy Pawloski and Diane Huber, The Olympian, 11 November 2007] [ [http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2007/11/368343.shtml "Police Use Excessive Force in Opening Up OLY Port"] , Mollie, Portland IndyMedia, 10 November 2007] Protest participants claim police covered their badge numbers, and taunted protesters as they deployed pepper spray. Police claim several warnings to disperse were given, citing their actions as their last resort.
Once the protest was broken up at the port gate, many participants took up similar tactics in intersections in downtown Olympia. Protesters clogged the intersection of 4th and Plum with dumpsters, cinder blocks, garbage cans, and newspaper boxes. Other intersections were similarly blocked as well. The debris was eventually cleared by Olympia police, and the trucks were able to reach the Interstate. During this time, several protesters locked down in PVC pipes at the onramp to
Interstate 5. While the activists sat, locked down, Olympia police shot pepper balls at them. Police later sawed through the PVC pipes and cleared the road. 12 people were arrested. [http://www.theolympian.com/news/story/268949.html "Tempers Cool at Site of Olympia War Protest"] , Heather Woodward, The Olympian, 12 November 2007]
Sunday, 11 November, brought more pepper spray and three more arrests. Members of PMR attempted to lay flowers at the port gate in honor of the 48 soldiers from the Stryker division who had died during their deployment, but were shoved back with police batons. That evening, the Olympia City Council hosted a standing-room-only public forum on the police response to the protests.
On or around 12 November, an unidentified individual poured concrete over the only rail line leading out of the Port of Olympia. [http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004012580_webprotest13m.html "Protesters Try To Block Trains At Port"] , Seattle Times Staff, 14 November 2007] An anonymous individual posted a warning of the concrete, recommending all rail traffic out of the port be suspended until the concrete is removed. [ [http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2007/11/368470.shtml "Warning! - Port of Olympia Train Tracks Covered In Concrete"] , anonymous, Portland IndyMedia, 12 November 2007] Olympia police report the concrete was cleaned up without incident.
At 9:00 am on Tuesday, 13 November, convoys attempted to resume leaving the port grounds. A truck carrying military equipment, attempting to elude waiting protesters, drove so close behind another truck with non-military cargo that it nearly rear-ended it. Demonstrators were still able to obstruct the truck, and it was forced to return to the port grounds. [ [http://youtube.com/watch?v=dM2tNL_roBY "Olympia Port Protesters Stop Military-Cargo Truck"] , Zoltan Grossman, YouTube, 13 November 2007] Demonstrators maintained this road blockade throughout the day. [ [http://publish.seattle.indymedia.org/en/2007/11/262742.shtml "We're Holding the Port For Now..."] , Drew Hendricks, Seattle IndyMedia, 13 November 2007]
That evening, the blockade was maintained by the Women's Caucus of Port Militarization Resistance. [ [http://publish.seattle.indymedia.org/en/2007/11/262766.shtml "OLY Port Resistance Continues"] , Mollie, Seattle IndyMedia, 14 November 2007] While 39 women maintained the roadblock, men in PMR reportedly defended them from verbal assaults from counter-demonstrators. [ [http://www.olywip.org/site/page/article/2007/12/03.html "OlyPMR Women's Caucus Takes Direct Action for Global Human Rights"] , Kyle Taylor Lucas, Works In Progress, December 2007] During this blockade, one soldier assigned to drive the convoys refused to do so, and asked demonstrators to drive him back to
Fort Lewis. [ [http://publish.seattle.indymedia.org/en/2007/11/262755.shtml "Soldier Refuses to Drive At Olympia"] , Tacoma SDS, Seattle IndyMedia, 13 November 2007]
When police arrived to break up the blockade that evening, they began by pulling participants away one by one, but then began to use pepper spray to force the crowd to disperse. Reports also indicate two concussion grenades were thrown into the crowd. 43 protesters were arrested. [http://www.theolympian.com/news/story/271003.html "Convoys exit port amid violent confrontation"] , Jeremy Pawloski, The Olympian, 14 November 2007]
Once the protest at the port gate was dispersed, protesters again took their efforts to downtown Olympia. Protesters again attempted to blockade the convoys in downtown with dumpsters and newspaper boxes. [http://videos.theolympian.com/vmix_hosted_apps/p/media?id=1562999 "Port Protest November 13th"] , Matt McVay, The Olympian, 13 November 2007] Some participants threw rocks through windows of police cars and banks. One police officer was struck in the knee with a rock by a protester.
No convoys left the port on 14 November. [http://www.theolympian.com/news/story/272102.html "Protesters, Police Rest"] , Christian Hill, The Olympian, 15 November 2007] The final trucks left the port on 15 November. 5 more demonstrators were arrested that day, and several others were pepper sprayed. [ [http://www.theolympian.com/news/story/273011.html "5 More Protesters Arrested As Final Trucks Exit Port"] , Christian Hill, The Olympian, 16 November 2007] PMR concluded the evening with a 100 person candlelight vigil in downtown Olympia. The final event of the protests was a 350 person march through downtown Olympia on 17 November. [ [http://www.theolympian.com/southsound/story/274767.html "Hundreds Rally In Olympia To Back Port Demonstrators"] , Diane Huber, The Olympian, 17 November 2007] Rail cars containing the final equipment from the shipment left the port on 28 November without further incident. [ [http://www.olywip.org/site/page/image/2007/12/05/09.html "Photo: Trainload of War Machines leaving Olympia"] , Drew Hendricks, Works In Progress, December 2007]
A total of 66 people were arrested during the November 2007 round of Port of Olympia protests. The cost to the city for security during this round of port protests was estimated to be at least $112,168. City Manager Steve Hall suggested the bill be sent to the Port of Olympia. [ [http://www.theolympian.com/southsound/story/297321.html "Olympia’s Protest Bill: $112,168"] , Matt Batcheldor, The Olympian, 12 December 2007]
. [ [http://publish.seattle.indymedia.org/en/2007/11/262583.shtml "Be At The Port Of Olympia Every Night At 9 PM"] , Port Liberation Front, Seattle IndyMedia, 6 November 2007] PLF members cite decentralization as necessary for the achieving of port militarization resistance goals, while also stressing the need for involved parties to find "basic common ground in which they could operate together". [ [http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=20071108185018722 "Washington: Port Liberation Front Statement"] , Port Liberation Front, Infoshop, 8 November 2007] [ [http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=2007olympia-plf "Olympia, WA: Final Communication From The Port Liberation Front"] , Port Liberation Front, Infoshop, 14 November 2007] Various PLF statements have taken credit or partial credit for many actions during the protests, including physical barricades both at the port and in downtown Olympia. [ [http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2007/11/368366.shtml "Port Liberation Front Communication (RE: The Last 3 Days)"] , Port Liberation Front, Portland IndyMedia, 10 November 2007] There is no evidence of any anarchist or PLF participation in events or actions organized by PMR the organization.
Olympia police have come under both praise and criticism for their response to the November 2007 Port of Olympia protests. Protest participants have criticized police for routinely using pepper spray on people for passively failing to comply with orders, in violation of guidelines that say pepper spray should only be used to subdue violent resisters. [ [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgi5ESpueX8 "Port Militarization Resistance -- Peppersprayed In Olympia"] , Joseph La Sac, YouTube, 10 November 2007] Police have also been criticized by community members for moving beyond individual arrest into a strategy of group punishment. Others have expressed support for the police, and suggested the blame for the confrontations lies with the protesters. [ [http://www.theolympian.com/letters/story/273849.html "Bill war protesters for police expenses"] , Robert C. Todd, Letter to The Olympian, 18 November 2007]
Several reporters from local newspaper "
The Olympian" were victims of attacks by police while attempting to cover the protests, one of whom was reportedly treated by protest medics. [ [http://www.theolympian.com/columnists/story/291782.html "Port Protesters Are Determined To Stop Immoral War"] , Phan Nguyen, Letter to The Olympian, 6 December 2007] [http://www.olywip.org/site/page/article/2008/01/04.html "At the Newsroom: What Happened and What Did Not Happen"] , Brendan Funtek, Works In Progress, January 2008] The newspaper later came under criticism when an editor wrote an editorial disavowing these events had happened. [ [http://www.theolympian.com/news/story/272105.html "At the Port: What Happened And What Did Not Happen"] , Vickie Kilgore, The Olympian, 15 November 2007]
Other actions / Related actions
While being most noted for the protests at the
Port of Olympiaand Port of Tacoma, Port Militarization Resistance has been involved in or associated with other less noted port protests.
Port of Grays Harbor - May 2007
On 1 May 2007,
Fort Lewisbegan shipping equipment from the 4th Squadron, 6th U.S. Air Cavalry Regiment, to the Port of Grays Harborin Aberdeen, Washington, to be shipped to Iraq. This was the first time the military used the Port of Grays Harbor for shipments. [ [http://www.army.mil/-news/2007/05/14/3145-departure-runs-smoothly/ "Departure Runs Smoothly"] , Don Kramer, Northwest Guardian, 14 May 2007] Despite the intensity of the protests at the Port of Tacomatwo months earlier, only a couple daytime protests materialized during this shipment. [ [http://www.komotv.com/news/7362496.html "Anti-war demonstrators protest at Grays Harbor Port"] , Eric Schudiske, KOMO 4 TV News, 7 May 2007]
The added security during the Port of Grays Harbor protests cost the city $165,000. The military has refused to cover this bill, claiming that "it wasn't the military that required the security." [ [http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2004118456_webarmyprotest10.html "Army Won't Pay Aberdeen For Port Security During Protests"] , Seattle Times, 10 January 2008]
Port of Oakland - May 2007
On 19 May 2007,
anti-waractivists in Oaklandmaintained a picket line outside the gates of the Port of Oaklandduring a shipment of war materials. The local ILWUchose not to cross this picket line, and thus the shipment was delayed for several days.
The event was organized by the Port Action Committee of Oakland, which comprises many of the people who organized the port protests at that port in April 2003. Although this was unaffiliated with Port Militarization Resistance, organizers cited PMR as an inspiration. [ [http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2007/05/13/18415810.php "Community Pickets, Shuts Down War Profiteers SSA at Oakland Port"] , Port Action Committee, IndyBay, 20 May 2007]
Due to the high number of arrests at Port Militarization Resistance protests, several criminal cases have been pursued by local jurisdictions against protest participants.
The most publicized court case to come from Port Militarization Resistance actions involved 16 of the 22 people arrested at the
Port of Olympiaon May 30, 2006. Despite that some defendants were severed from the case, PMR organizers continued to refer to the remaining defendants as the Olympia 22.
. However, the decision was later overturned on appeal, and the necessity defense was never brought before a jury.
The first trial of the 16 Olympia 22 defendants, which began on
March 26, 2007, ended in mistrial on its fourth day, when an individual identifying himself as being with Homeland Securityfurnished a printout of an e-mail from a confidential riseupe-mail list of attorneys and defendants. This e-mail contained a spreadsheet with confidential juror information. The prosecution, characterizing the information as being "out there" on the Internet, successfully argued for a mistrial. [ [http://www.olywip.org/site/page/article/2007/04/01.html "Olympia 22 Case Ends in Mistrial; Reveals Surveillance of Activists"] , Works In Progress, April 2007] Defendants maintain the list constituted attorney-client protected discussions. [ [http://wallynotorious.livejournal.com/363099.html "Homeland Security Crashes Olympia 22 Trial, Infiltrates Attorney-Client Protected Riseup Listserv"] , Wally Cuddeford, LiveJournal, 30 March 2007]
While preparing to retry the case through three split trials, the charges were dismissed with prejudice on June 12, 2007. The judge cited "gross negligence" on the part of the prosecution, in failing to provide new discovery to the defendants in a timely manner before trial. [ [http://www.olywip.org/site/page/article/2007/07/01.html "Olympia 22 Case Dismissed"] , Phan Nguyen, July 2007] Local newspaper
The Olympianeditorialized that the prosecution blew the case by not pursuing it aggressively enough. [ [http://www.theolympian.com/opinion/story/137336.html "Prosecution Blew Court Case"] , The Olympian, 17 June 2007]
Other court cases
There have been several other court cases to come from each of PMR's protests. As of March 2007, most of these are still unresolved. Many charges have been dismissed, and some have been acquitted, while other protest participants have been convicted on their charges. [ [http://www.ufppc.org/content/view/7117/ "First Successful Convictions in a Port Protest-Related Case Since Inception of PMR as a Movement"] , Phan Nguyen, United for Peace of Pierce County, 1 February 2008] [ [http://wallynotorious.livejournal.com/479753.html "The Newest Member of the Anarchist Lawyers Guild of Olympia"] , Wally Cuddeford, LiveJournal, 29 February 2008]
Public reaction and impact
Port Militarization Resistance actions have garnered international attention, with coverage from
The New York Times, the BBC, Democracy Now!, and Air America Radio.
Many anti-war activists have cited the port protests as being inspirational. Among them, 1st Lt
Ehren Watadahas cited the May 2006 PMR protests as inspiration for his decision to publicly refuse to deploy with the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. [ [http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=14287 "10 Days That Shook Olympia"] , Peter Bohmer, 15 November 2007] During the May 2006 protests at the Port of Olympia, author Ron Jacobscalled for "One, Two, Three, Many Olympias." [ [http://www.dissidentvoice.org/May06/Jacobs29.htm "One, Two, Three, Many Olympias"] , Ron Jacobs, Dissident Voice, 29 May 2006] PMR has also gained the support of international organizations, like the Japan Peace Committee. [ [http://www.olywip.org/site/page/article/2007/04/04.html "A Message of Solidarity from Japan: Your Resistance Is Ours"] , Shoji Niihara, Works In Progress, April 2007]
PMR also frequently cites messages of support they've received from active-duty soldiers. [ [http://publish.seattle.indymedia.org/en/2007/11/262668.shtml "Audio From Olympia Port Blockade"] , DJ Question Mark, Free Radio Olympia, 9 November 2007] [ [http://www.ufppc.org/content/view/5902/ "I Was There"] , "K", Tacoma SDS, 3 March 2007]
Port Militarization Resistance has also come under scrutiny, both for its uncompromising stance and for its choice of tactics. One of PMR's more prolific critics has been conservative columnist
Michelle Malkin. Malkin has criticized PMR's actions as putting U.S. servicepeople in danger, and has accused PMR members of sedition. [ [http://jewishworldreview.com/michelle/malkin030707.php3 "The 'Peace' Brigade vs. the Stryker Brigade"] , Michelle Malkin, Jewish World Review, 7 March 2007] [ [http://michellemalkin.com/2007/11/18/sedition-in-olympia-snivelers-on-parade/ "Sedition in Olympia: Snivelers on parade"] , Michelle Malkin, 18 November 2007]
One point of criticism levied at PMR during the November 2007 protests at the Port of Olympia involved the participation of children in situations where police were likely to deploy crowd control weapons. Critics of PMR suggested it was reckless of protest participants to put children in danger. PMR supporters contend they aren't responsible for the police response, and suggest that children should have the right to participate in the protests. [ [http://michellemalkin.com/2007/11/12/seditious-anti-war-protesters-use-kids-as-human-shields/ "Seditious Anti-War Protesters Use Kids As Human Shields"] , Michelle Malkin, 12 November 2007] Another frequent point of criticism of PMR involves the choice to engage in tactics that are disapproved by more moderate anti-war allies and elected officials.
* [http://www.olypmr.org Official Port Militarization Resistance Website (Olympia)] .
* [http://www.omjp.org/PMRNonViolenceFeb07.txt PMR Statement of Nonviolence] on Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace (OMJP) website.
* History of PMR actions in [http://www.omjp.org/OlyPort.html 2004, 2005] , [http://www.omjp.org/PortMay06.html 2006] , and [http://www.omjp.org/Port2007.html 2007] , on the Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace (OMJP) website.
* [http://www.olywip.org/site/page/article/2007/04/09.html] Detailed account of events at the Port of Tacoma - March 2007
* [http://www.omjp.org/PMRCitizensInjunction.doc Citizen’s Injunction to Halt the Shipment of Military Material to Iraq] - 11 March 2007
* [http://www.gnn.tv/articles/2967/Port_Militarization_Resistance "Port Militarization Resistance"] - GNN - 15 March 2007
* [http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070402/enzinna Article about Tacoma PMR and Tacoma SDS] in
* [http://www.olywip.org/site/page/article/2007/12/11.html "A Personal Account of the Women's Action at the Port of Olympia"] - Daisy Montague, Works In Progress, December 2007
* [http://www.olywip.org/site/page/article/2007/12/02.html "The Real Enemy: Silence and Passivity -- Reflections on the Port Protests in Olympia"] - Zoltan Grossman, Works In Progress, December 2007
* [http://www.flickr.com/search/?s=int&z=t&w=all&q=Port+Militarization+Resistance&m=text Flickr search for Port Militarization Resistance]
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