Chronology of Events
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.
The first major incident of the Port of Tacoma protests occurred the night of 4 March, when three PMR organizers were arrested by police. Of them, one had been shot with a rubber bullet at point blank range, and another had been struck with a Taser three times as he was pinned down.
Over the next several days, protests over the shipments spread across Tacoma. 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. And a PMR videographer, while filming legally, was ordered to turn off his camera or else it would be broken. Also, police instituted a ban on backpacks in the protest area, arresting one individual for defying the ban.
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. A police spokesperson had claimed protesters had provoked this response, however video released later showed the spokesperson to be lying.
On the afternoon of Sunday, 11 March, Port Militarization Resistance organized a non-violent civil disobedience action. This action was coordinated with Tacoma police. The first wave involved 8 people bringing backpacks containing such items as the U.S. Constitution into 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.
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. 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. 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. All told, 37 arrests were made.
Read more about this topic: Port Of Tacoma Protests, March 2007
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