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A protest organized by the olympia/tacoma port militarization resistance and the tacoma sds ended in violence at 3:30 early this morning. Protesters moved from one heavily reinforced police barricade (about 250 riot police) to another in the hopes of participating in a non violent act of civil disobedience by sitting in a street and allowing themselves to be arrested. The police responded by firing into the group with pepper spray pellets, bean bags and rubber bullets followed by CS (tear) gas and pepper spray dispersal gas. A few protesters returned the canisters back to the police line to keep them out of the unsuspecting crowd who was not participating in the action. The police then advanced through the cloud of gas and opened fire on the fleeing protesters, chasing them three blocks and launching at least 20 canisters of gas.
the action ended in a standoff when the police allowed protesters separated from their friends and their rides to pass the police line five at a time with their hands up. eventually the cops only allowed those with car keys to pass and the drivers picked up their friends from the end of the street.
I can't say for sure how many were wounded, but no one required an ambulance and there were no arrests. At least two people were beaten with wooden clubs and five were fired upon at point blank range, mostly towards the chest and face.
Instead of using the courts and legal system, the only legal way to handle these actions, the police responded with an organized act of violence and repression. The protest against the stryker convoy and troop build up "surge" has been promised to continue until the military ships leave the port of tacoma. Organizers have called for a mass convergence at the tacoma federal building in downtown at 4:00 today (3/10/07).
In the event the police repeat the actions of this morning, it is highly advised that each person attending bring the following things:
A rag soaked in vinegar to neutralize the CS gas
A water bottle filled half and half with an antacid (like malox) and water as well as a bottle of fresh water. In the event you are exposed to pepper spray, wash your eyes first with the antacid solution, then with A LOT of water.
A heavy coat or card board sign to deflect bean bags and bullets
Some type of groin and head protection
please keep in mind, civil disobedience IS, by definition, non violent. Fences, streets and barricades are not people, you cannot harm them. Occupying them for the purpose of protest is NOT a violent act. Please do so RESPONSIBLY, with regard to your neighbor and fellow protester. If you do not want to be arrested or exposed to chemical weapons, then use common sense and DON'T STAND FACE A LINE A RIOT POLICE AND EXPECT THEM NOT TO USE THEIR WEAPONS AGAINST YOU. These police are part of the domestic war on terror and even if we see them as human beings with choices and heart beats, they see us as an enemy to be taken out. Do not assume that remaining non violent will protect you from them.
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