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The Associated Press

Protesters Arrested at Washington Port


OLYMPIA, Wash. -- At least a dozen people were arrested as demonstrators rallied to protest military cargo shipments arriving from Iraq at the port in the state capital.1111 03

The arrests Saturday came a day after protesters were able to stop two trucks from removing military equipment that had been unloaded from a ship coming from Iraq. The equipment was bound for Fort Lewis, an Army base about 15 miles northeast of Olympia.

Nine protesters were arrested Saturday for investigation of violating the city's pedestrian interference ordinance, but all were later released without being cited, said police Sgt. Ken Carlson.

Protesters on foot blocked traffic downtown at about noon Saturday by jumping in front of large trucks towing cargo containers carrying equipment. But police in riot gear moved in quickly, spraying pepper spray in protesters' faces, pushing them with their batons and dragging them away from the road.

At least three people were arrested at that location, and at least nine more were arrested when they tried to block an entrance to Interstate 5 as scores of protesters deployed to several different locations.

The protest was part of a week of demonstrations by Olympia Port Militarization Resistance, which has protested the port's use by the USNS Brittin, which landed Monday to unload equipment that was used in Iraq by the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division.

One protester, Andrew Yankey, told The Olympian newspaper that officers removed protesters' protective goggles and sprayed them directly in the face with mace.

"My goggles were ripped off my face and stolen," he said.

Police Cmdr. Tor Bjornstad said officers tried to talk to the protesters to get them to move before using pepper spray and batons.

Port spokeswoman Patti Grant said once the barricades were gone, cargo was able to move steadily until the end of the day shift at 4 p.m.

To see more photos from the day's protest go here.

© 2007 The Associated Press.

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