- After what appeared to be stun grenades, acrid smoke.
Calling in from a scene he describes as straight out of Mad Max, Eli reports that Occupy protesters dragged pallets, wood, and other debris out of a junkyard at the port facility, and into the street to erect a barricade in the middle of the intersection of Kickitat SW & SW Spokane. Protesters held their ground, and shut down traffic for about 40 minutes, before police came in with stun grenades, pepper spray, and horses to clear them out.
Following several loud bangs that appeared to be stun grenades, the air became thick with acrid smoke that burned your throat, Eli reports, as police went in to arrest protesters and remove the barricades. Traffic is now moving again.
Eli spoke with Sean Karnes, 30, of Seattle, a student at ITT Tech, and a retired Coast Guard veteran, whose eyes were swollen shut, presumably from pepper spray. "The guy fucking slammed against me with his bike," Karnes tells Eli regarding his encounter with the police. "I got punched three or four times."
Despite his injuries, Karnes says he'd do it all over again. "I'm a veteran, and the whole reason they're cutting veterans benefits is because of the bank bailout," Karnes tells Eli. "I just wanted to send a message."
What would victory look like for Karnes? "Victory would be if we could get the money out of politics, and if our legislators were working for us."
UPDATE: Port of Seattle spokesman Peter McGraw reports that today's Occupy Seattle protests had a "minimal impact to cargo movement," all of it a Terminal 18. Some cargo was slowed getting out of the terminal, McGraw says, but no shifts were canceled and no terminals were shut down.
But Occupy protesters were more successful elsewhere. The Port of Longview, WA—a recent focus of labor strife—shut down completely today in response to Occupy protesters after the ILWU sent longshoremen home early due to "health and safety" concerns. At the Port of Portland, OR, protesters succeeded in shutting down Terminals 4, 5, and 6, prompting authorities to close the main gate. And at the Port of Oakland, CA, officials insisted that "all terminals opened today," but "some terminals could not operate at all because of protesters." Talk about splitting fucking hairs. In any case, no ships were loaded or unloaded today in Oakland. That sounds like a shutdown to me.