Today, as the crowd gathered on Percival Landing, the downpour stopped and the clouds parted. The sun warmed the people who came out to support the Olympia's Port Militarization Resistance. My friend turned me and said, "This is almost enough to make me believe there is a God and that God is on our side."
Many gave powerful and moving speeches at the Port Plaza, reflecting the intensity of the last 10 days. The passion for peace, the commitment to peaceful resistance and the unwillingness to be complicit in this illegal war were the themes as people spoke from their hearts. The Port resistance was a time for people to stand up and say, "the war stops here." Pepper spray and police wielding batons will not stop them. Yet, as violent as this experience was, many noted that it was nothing compared to what people in Iraq experience daily. This awareness seemed to strengthen their resolve to bring an end to the illegal war and occupation in Iraq.
Over 60 people were arrested over the past 10 days. Countless others were pepper sprayed, hit with pepper bullets, pushed around, and few kicked. They did not stand alone, however. Many others served as observers, medics, photographers, and videographers. Many businesses and individuals provided food and water during the Port shutdown.
Some of the people who were brutalized, including a 14-year old girl, spoke at the Port Plaza today. The women who formed the human barricade on Tuesday night were recognized—something the Olympian overlooked. This was civil disobedience at its finest—and the police recognized it as well, deciding to go by the book instead of listening to the pro-war crowd that wanted to see heads busted.
The work is not over. The Port needs to be pressured into refusing any more military contracts. The City needs to answer for the Police's excessive use of force. The City also needs to repair the damage done to its relationship with the activist community.
But today, hearts were light and the mood was joyous.
The people who organized and sustained the Port resistance are truly awesome!