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Port of Seattle. Photo by Michael Coppola.

Port of Seattle. Photo by Michael Coppola.


Police Arrest 11 At Port Of Seattle Protest

Bryan Buckalew

Police in Seattle used horses, stun grenades and pepper spray Monday evening to clear protesters who blocked the entrance to a port terminal. The blockade was part of a larger effort from the Occupy Wall Street movement to disrupt port traffic up and down the West Coast. Seattle Police made 11 arrests, as KUOW's Bryan Buckalew reports.


Monday's protest began with a rally at Westlake Park in downtown Seattle. Several hundred demonstrators then marched south to the Port of Seattle. They carried signs with slogans like "Solidarity With Port Drivers" and "Consume Less." When protestors reached the port, they tried to establish a picket line across the roadway to block incoming traffic to Terminal 18.

Police pushed them back. Joshua Farris was one of the protestors who fell back. He wore a disposable respirator around his neck.

Farris: "As far as I'm concerned, if things remain the same, our futures have been mortgaged. And so we're here in solidarity with all of our working–class brothers and sisters. And we're going to keep the fight going."

Protesters then moved west, closer to the gate of Terminal 18. They dragged old lumber and pallets up onto the road to create a hard roadblock crossing the incoming lane. Trucks leaving the terminal were not stopped, but the swing shift was not let in.

Matt, a protestor who declined to give his last name, stood in front of the barricade. He explained why protestors waited until the end of the day to picket the port.

Matt: "We know that the truck drivers are paid very, very little. That's why we're out here in solidarity with them. They're paid poverty wages. We've been hanging out and talking with a lot of them the past few weeks, and a lot of them sleep in their trucks at night, and that's ridiculous. That shouldn't be that way. We know they're paid so little, we didn't want them to lose too much pay today. So we just shut down the very end of their shift."

Protestors stopped truck traffic for about half an hour. At 4:30 p.m., the terminal closed. Shortly after, bike and mounted police moved in.

The crowd dispersed after police used stun grenades and pepper spray. Some protestors moved to Terminal 5 to picket there. Others went back to the Spokane Street fishing bridge where other protestors were gathered. A spokesperson for the port said all terminals had closed for the night.

The only terminal affected by the demonstrations was Terminal 18, and the port said the impact was minimal.

For KUOW News, I'm Bryan Buckalew.

© Copyright 2011, KUOW

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