Skip to comments.Northwest war protesters jam city streets, highways
Posted on 03/20/2003 7:26:23 PM PST by frosty snowman
SEATTLE More than a thousand protesters clogged Seattle city streets and hundreds more disrupted traffic in Bellingham, Wash. and Portland.
The scattered Northwest protests remained largely peaceful, but a small group at the head of about 100 protesters headed for the Steele Bridge in Portland scuffled with police around 6 p.m., knocking over a police motorcycle and apparently injuring one officer.
Police quickly called in reinforcements in the form of bicycle and mounted police. Some protesters were hit with pepper spray in the skirmish as the situation quickly evolved into a standoff.
Demonstrators trying to get onto the Steele Bridge clashed with police Thursday evening. Anti-war demonstrators appeared to have heeded fliers that were passed around at Terry Schrunk Plaza urging them to participate in sit downs, blockades and other actions at strategic locations, according to the leaflets.
For the past week, warnings have been posted on an independent media Web site promising that protestors would shut down southwest Portland.
Shortly after, a large number of bicyclists from the advocacy group Critical Mass rode through areas of Portland and across the Burnside Bridge, slowing traffic there.
Closer to 7 p.m. a group of about six or eight protesters sat down in the middle of Interstate 5 in Portland before they were dragged off by police.
In Seattle, as many as 1,200 war protesters, many of them students from Seattle Central Community College and the University of Washington, marched down Seattle's Eastlake Ave. E. Thursday afternoon, paralyzing traffic along the way before arriving at Westlake Center.
Around 5 p.m., the protesters marched to the Federal Building, where they blocked off Second Ave., creating a traffic mess in the downtown area.
In Bellingham, 300 to 500 peace activists made their way onto Interstate 5, temporarily blocking freeway traffic for two miles in either direction.
The State Patrol ordered the Bellingham protesters off the freeway under threat of arrest, and they left.
Earlier Portland, anti-war demonstrators carrying placards saying No Iraq War and waving peace signs marched peacefully towards the Terry Schrunk Plaza downtown as the community joined hundreds of cities around the world in protesting an invasion of Iraq.
After a rally at Seattle's Westlake Center, protesters marched to the Federal Building and blocked off traffic on Second Ave. Many wore black, others had bandannas over their faces and still others wore gas masks.
A splinter group of anti-war activists faced off against dozens of pro-troops supporters in front of the World Trade Center at the Portland's Waterfront Park.
The two groups yelled back and forth at one another and police watched form a distance.
Many of the demonstrators were college students who walked out of classes . The one-block long column of demonstrators blocked traffic as they moved from one block to the next. They were escorted or followed by police in squad cars and on bikes.
In Kirkland, Wash., outside Seattle, a noon protest by area high school students ended peacefully. The group consisted of approximately 100 people, mostly students from various high schools.
The Seattle demonstrations involved students from as many as 20 high schools and eight colleges.
"I walked out because I'm totally against this war, and I think we should try to do this in a different way," said Lisbeth
Unterschute, 14, and a freshman at Roosevelt High School.
Chanting "Money for schools, not for war" a group from Seattle Central marched up Broadway before noon before joining up with a larger group from the University of Washington.
After a rally at Seattle's Westlake Center, protesters marched to the Federal Building and blocked off traffic on Second Ave. Once at Westlake Park, the Seattle demonstrators held "die-ins" by laying down on the pavement, some covered with fake blood.
Officials from Metro transit in Seattle warned bus riders that it was impossible to know which bus stops would be affected by the demonstrations, but that several routes had been affected.
Protests against the war started early almost as soon as bombs started falling in Iraq Wednesday night. At that time, about 200 people protested outside the Federal Building in downtown Seattle and marched toward Westlake Park. Police arrested 11 protesters at Westlake Center after they refused to leave.
Anti-war protesters also briefly shut down a bridge into downtown Olympia Thursday morning. Eight protesters were arrested after chaining themselves together on the Fourth Aveneue bridge at about 9:15 a.m.
Earlier Thursday, about two dozen people braved the wind and rain for a support-the-troops rally outside Camp Murray, headquarters of the Washington National Guard and the nerve center of the State Emergency Operations Center.
War was on many people's minds as they lined up at the Spokane Arena for the first round of the NCAA basketball tournament Thursday. A few protesters were outside the arena, holding a black sheet with a peace sign.
Protests in the Northwest were peaceful compared to other parts of the country.
In San Francisco, a scuffle broke out after anti-war protesters allegedly tried to take a gun from an officer around 2 p.m. Police say p rotesters threw rocks and bottles and one officer was injured, poossibly with a broken leg. About 500 people were arrested during the protests, which started at 7 a.m.
I wonder if she had a permission slip from her parents....
They are signing their own arrest warrants. Bomb-throwing anarchists. No bombs so far.
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