War protesters met by critics, police

War protesters met by critics, police »Play Video
Dressed in riot gear, two police pepper-spray one of two protesters who attempted to block the first convoy of military vehicles out of the Port of Olympia, Wash. on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2007.
OLYMPIA -- Protesters who claim they would do anything to support the troops clashed with police again on Sunday as they tried to stop a convoy of military-cargo shipments at the port in Washington's state capital.

At least three more protesters were arrested in acts of civil disobedience to stop the process. But the war protesters were greeted by critics who accused them of putting on a disrespectful display on Veterans Day.

"I would think what they are doing is a disgrace to our veterans, They are hurting because of what they're seeing happen in the streets of this town," said Shelley Webber, a critic. "They will not stop the war, they will not stop our convoys."

But the protesters' spirits were not dampened.

"This is the day to protest," said Joshua Simpson. "I'm the only one here who's been to Iraq, I'm the only war veteran in this vicinity, and I'm still here because I don't want my community to be involved in the militarization of Olympia."

Protesters claim the critics' words were not as strong as the police force they encountered.

KOMO 4 News has obtained home video showing police rushing to the sidewalk to arrest a man whom, protesters claim, had no reason to be arrested.

"We had a number of people who were jumping in the street and that sort of thing," said police spokesman Tor Bjornstad. "We did deploy a little bit of pepper spray. We, I think, made three arrests today."

The protest was part of a week-long series of demonstrations by the group Olympia Port Militarization Resistance. They have been protesting the use of the port by the USNS Brittin, which landed at the port last Monday to unload equipment that was used in Iraq by the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team).

Port officials said they could not comment on how much military equipment remains at the port, waiting to be shipped.

Protesters said no matter how long it takes, they will not leave or back down in their fight to stop the convoys. But police, with batons in hand, plan to push back anyone who tries to get in the way.

A small group of marchers gathered on Sunday night to march to City Hall in protest of the war.