Percussion grenades used to disperse Seattle protesters

by on December 13, 2011 · 3 comments

in American Empire, Civil Disobedience, Civil Rights, Economy

SEATTLE — Police who used “flash-bang” percussion grenades to disperse protesters who blocked an entrance to a Port of Seattle facility Monday say 11 demonstrators have been arrested.

The demonstration was part of a national effort to disrupt West Coast port traffic.

Officers moved in Monday evening after Occupy Seattle protesters tried to set up a makeshift barrier near the entrances to Terminal 5 and Terminal 18, using scraps of wood, aluminum debris and any other material they could scrape together.

Demonstrators blocked traffic, hurling flares, bags of paint, bricks, rebar and other debris at officers and police horses, Detective Jeff Kappel said. One officer was treated by medics after a bag of paint hit his face.

Those arrested were accused of violations including failure to disperse and assaulting an officer, he said.

Earlier, about 100 Occupy protesters stopped traffic at a terminal for about 20 minutes.

After the grenades went off, the protesters scattered, with many wiping their faces and retreating from the area.

The Seattle group had marched several miles from a downtown shopping area. The activity snarled nearby traffic during the Monday evening commute and caused several bus routes to be rerouted or delayed.

Charla Skaggs, Port of Seattle spokeswoman, told The Associated Press the truck gates to both terminals closed on their normal schedules Monday afternoon.

Earlier Monday, longshoremen at the Longview port went home for the day, essentially shutting down the terminal after an Occupy Wall Street demonstration. Several dozen protesters in Bellingham blocked railroad tracks for much of the day.

The International Longshore & Warehouse Union sent home its Longview workers out of concern for their health and safety, spokeswoman Jennifer Sargent said.

“Our people are willing and able to go to work,” Sargent said.

However, Port of Longview spokeswoman Ashley Helenberg said both the port and the union decided to shut down operations. She said about 20 jobs would be affected. The port was handling one ship Monday.

Union workers would be paid for four hours of work, the union said.

The Longview rally lasted about 90 minutes and numbered about 100 people. It was among a series of coordinated Occupy Wall Street protests at the West Coast’s busiest ports. Demonstrators hoped the rallies would cut into the profits of the corporations that run the docks.

The protests also hit terminals at ports in Oakland, Calif., and Portland, Ore., though it wasn’t immediately clear how much the shutdowns would affect operations and what the economic loss would be.

Union leadership in Washington has said they are sympathetic to the demands of the Occupy Wall Street movement but don’t support Monday’s actions.

In Longview, the longshoremen’s union and the port have been engaged in a protracted labor dispute, and the union president said the Occupy movement was co-opting that fight.

“As the Occupy movement, which began in September 2011, sweeps this country, there is a real danger that forces outside of the ILWU will attempt to adopt our struggle as their own,” ILWU president Robert McEllrath said in a statement posted on the union’s website Saturday.

Sargent said that if union workers participated in the Occupy protest, they did so as individuals, not as part of the union.


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Goatskull December 13, 2011 at 10:03 am

“Demonstrators blocked traffic, hurling flares, bags of paint, bricks, rebar and other debris at officers and police horses, Detective Jeff Kappel said. One officer was treated by medics after a bag of paint hit his face.”

As much as I’m not a fan of the police, that was probably not the brightest thing to do.


Mike Chek December 13, 2011 at 10:11 am

goatshull – My friend – look at the source. From our experience here in San Diego, we have found that the police are constantly giving out misinformation. Constantly. Latest example: an officer told us and the media (which then reported it) that they consider our backpacks as bombs. Later, Asst Police Chief Long apologized for this very inappropriate statement by his officer – a sarge.

And to all of a sudden believe that our occupy movement – which has been non-violent since the beginning and is at its core – would now do what that one officer said, is to suspend all belief.


Goatskull December 13, 2011 at 11:07 am

While you may be right, nowhere in this article is it shown as a quote from any of the officers. Maybe that’s what they said but that’s not indicated year. Yes the police have been lying and yes the majority of the OWS are peaceful, but there’s always that extreme element that hurt it for everyone else. If these protestors did in fact hurl stuff at the officers then they’re pretty much brining on any further physical attacks by the police and also in effect hurting the whole movement in my opinion. No matter how just the cause is, just not a smart thing to do. Doing that is kind of the equivalent of walking into a let’s say a bar known to be patronized by members of the Hells Angels and loudly talking about how much the HAs, bikers in general, and Harley’s suck and expecting not to get your arse kicked.


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