Washington State war protesters clash with police

by Roberta Romero
KING News

Police in Washington state arrested nearly a dozen people Saturday when a violent confrontation broke out between anti-war protesters and law enforcement officers.

The protesters were trying to block military traffic leaving the port of Olympia.

With police in full riot gear guiding them, rucks carrying military cargo equipment from the port of Olympia tried to drive past protesters.

Young men and women stepped into the street to block them.

Olympia Police wasted no time clearing the way using pepper spray and batons they took protesters into custody.

Tor Bjornstad of Olympia Police Department said, "we asked them initially to please leave we give them lots of warnings and lots of time, but there comes a point that that is our only option."

The group called Port Military Resistance or PMR opposed the use of the port for what they call an illegal war in Iraq.

Military equipment from Iraq, including a fleet of stryker vehicles, was recently delivered to the Olympia port to be returned to Fort Lewis.

Protester Sam Green said, "this is a movement that is affecting every single person in the country, in other countries, and this is a movement that people all around the world need to start joining in to end it, because it will be the end of us, if we don't end it."

Protesters refused to give up their fight, moving along the streets of Olympia.  Some lined up near the entrance to Interstate 5 using long metal tubes and chains. Several of them linked hands, and locked themselves up in the middle of the road.

Using a portable saw police dismantled their makeshift barricade.

They were all locked up again, but this time with police handcuffs and were taken into custody.

Tor Bjornstad said, "a lot of man power, time consuming, it's been a long day."

Olympia police say 11 to 15 protesters were taken into custody.

They face a variety of charges including pedestrian interference.

Military equipment is still at the port of Olympia, and still needs to be delivered.

Protesters say they will remain at the gates to continue spreading their message.