Despite all sorts of silliness over the past week or so, the 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division is still deploying from the Port of Tacoma for Iraq.
Here’s news coverage: Dozens of protesters arrested at Tacoma port:
On Saturday, a much more intense scene unfolded between police and protesters at the port. Police said the protesters had moved some of the barricades in a possibly threatening way. As a result, they unleashed tear gas and fired rubber bullets. Three people were arrested.
On Friday, protesters attempted to climb the fence onto the private property, prompting police to use pepper spray. When the crowd refused to leave, police turned to tear gas to disperse the crowd. Two people were arrested.
Last Monday, three people were arrested while protesting at the port. One of those people was arrested again the following day for trespassing and disrupting a Tacoma City Council meeting after he exceeded the allotted three minutes.
Despite the demonstrations, which apparently topped out at around 200 or so protesters, Newest Stryker brigade gets official send-off to Iraq:
They’ll be the first to operate all 10 options that come with the Stryker, including the mobile gun system.
They’ll also be the first to take the Land Warrior high tech communication system into combat. The display screen in their helmets keeps track of everyone’s location.
And they’ll also be the first to bring 100 soldiers who’ve gone through months of language classes so they can mingle with the Iraqis.
As I understand it, the deployment process will continue for the next couple of weeks.
Here’s a bit of YouTube of the incident on Saturday night:
There’s a lot more to be found. Here’s another take of the same incident, and here’s KING5 news coverage. Regardless of the title on YouTube, this certainly didn’t qualify as any sort of a riot. Just a bunch of folks sitting in the road trying to muck things. And failing.
I gotta admit that I’m more than a bit saddened by watching this. I certainly wish that it didn’t have to come to tear gassing shooting with rubber bullets. But while some would fulfill that wish by making the police stop, I’d rather fulfill it by making the protesters get out of the way nicely. Since they certainly didn’t seem inclined to comply, I guess I’d let the tear gas fly, too. Even though I wouldn’t like doing it.
I also admit that I wasn’t really sure if I should note these videos, not wanting to add publicity for the morons trying (and failing) to disrupt the deployment of a military unit. But I decided to, as most of the loons who would be fired up by this sort of stuff are already fired up and watching them. And some of the folks in the video are good for a chuckle.
Police claim that one of the reasons that they used the methods they did was that some protesters had either thrown some barricades at them or at least moved them in a possibly threatening way. A longer YouTube by the protesters (unsurprisingly) shows no such activity in the five minutes leading up to the first tear gas shot.
However, I haven’t seen what the actual claim of timing was, and knowing how these things can go down, I wouldn’t be surprised if clearance to proceed after some potentially threatening tooke several minutes to be requested, decided, passed down, and implemented. And while watching the video which claims to debunk the police department’s claim, Murdoc noticed this:
It’s laying on its side near the police line. How did it get there? Why is it laying down? When did it fall or get thrown there?
Who knows? I certainly don’t. But I don’t think this video disproves anything.
For what it’s worth, Murdoc says that those Strykers need to get through on schedule. If there are people in the way, ask them to move. If they don’t? Tell them to move. If they still don’t? Move them.