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Protestors sing, chant, take pictures at Port of Tacoma

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on Aug. 1, 2008 at 7:48 am |
August 1, 2008 7:48 am

(Here’s Ian’s report from the Port of Tacoma protest overnight.)


The protester quote of the night was, "We’re out in the middle of nowhere surrounded by cops."


The group started walking from a meeting point near Puyallup and D with about 40 people. But a chunk of the demonstrators turned back before they reached the streets near where the vehicles were leaving the port.


Marching up Thorne toward where a line of officers was assembled to guide them into the so-called Free Speech Zone, the group began to sing briefly, but soon petered out.


They chanted a bit – phases like "Our streets, our port." But largely stood around, looking indecisive, seemingly outflanked by the highly organized police presence (which included officers on foot, bicycle, motorcycle and patrol car) and outnumbered.


Only a couple of people decided to go into the barricaded area set up for demonstrators on 11th.


One person asked what had happened to their freedom of assembly.


The protesters seemed to get a big kick out of posing in front of the line of police officers and snapping photos with their cell phone cameras.


At one point, the group was asked to move as a car came up the street. An officer directed them to get off the road and onto the sidewalk.


One girl said, "We’ll be over here, but we want you to know we’re still protesting."


Around 11:30 p.m., the group saw the Strykers rolling out of the Port of Tacoma and ran down Ross toward them. Officers stopped them about half a block from the vehicles.


The demonstrators rallied briefly, singing and chanting a bit more, but not as a united group.


One youth, wearing a bandanna over his face, kept asking one officer for his badge number.


"What’s your badge number?" And when the officer didn’t answer, "Do you not have a badge number?" After a few minutes he gave up.


One person held up a sign that read "Stop the War."


Another wave of Strykers rolled by just before midnight. At least one of the protesters got taken to the ground and arrested detained at the line of bicycle officers across Ross, but I didn’t see clearly what happened.


As the soldiers drove past, many held their fingers up making peace signs.


KOMO TV also had a crew there, but they left around midnight, about the same time we did.


A videographer accompanied the demonstrators and told myself and photographer Drew Perine that having coverage from traditional media outlets was less important these days because the group could post their actions on YouTube.


At the same time, information put on the Web by the group has turned out to be exaggerated in some cases.


For example, the night before, a blog post said one protester had been arrested on suspicion of trespassing and the cops said "’no bail’, but then again, they always do."


The protester was placed in handcuffs, but he was given a warning, not arrested, he later told me.

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