Seven war protesters arrested as Strykers roll toward port

OLYMPIA — Police arrested six people at the Port of Olympia on Tuesday for actions related to the Army’s second day of delivering vehicles for a shipment to Iraq.

Five were accused of pedestrian interference for crossing in front of convoys of Stryker vehicles and other military trucks from Fort Lewis.

Police arrested another person Monday for trying to block military vehicles at Franklin and Market streets on the first day the vehicles arrived at the port.

Tuesday arrests

Police identified those arrested Tuesday as Andrew C. Hendricks, 37, of Olympia; Joshua A. Elliott, 25, of Olympia; Holly A. Carter, 24, of Littlerock; Nicole M. Miller, 24, of Littlerock; Jeffery A. Berryhill, 21, of Auburn; and David Lynn Jr., 55, of Gig Harbor.

Hendricks tried to place a bicycle lock on one of two front gates to the port about 3:15 a.m. Tuesday. Police accused him of trespassing on port property.

Five protesters were later arrested in the 700 block of Marine Drive N.E., where police said they were walking through a crosswalk intending to block convoys of Army trucks and Strykers.

A spokeswoman for the Army’s 833rd Transportation Battalion on Tuesday declined to say when a ship would arrive at the port to sail the military equipment to Iraq.

The military vehicles and some containers are being sent to the war prior to a deployment of the 3rd Stryker Brigade from Fort Lewis next month. The Fort Lewis Brigade will replace one from Alaska that has been in Iraq, said Fort Lewis spokesman Joe Hitt.

The deployment from Fort Lewis will include about 4,000 soldiers, Hitt said.

Onlookers and protesters shared their disagreements about the war after police made their later arrests at about 10:30 a.m.

“If it weren’t for our troops, these people wouldn’t have a right to stand here and protest,” said Tina Sandberg, a school bus driver who was parked on a port lot watching the protest.

“Our military and our troops are doing their jobs; leave them alone,” said Nadine Gulit, co-founder of Operation Support Our Troops, who called The Olympian after reading of the arrests on the newspaper’s Web site.

Gulit said three of her grandsons are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.“What I see these protesters doing is feeding ammunition to the terrorists,” Gulit said. “I believe in our military and that we will be a paper tiger if we pull out of Iraq.”

Military opposition

The protesters said they opposed the port’s policy of accepting military shipments.

“This is my port and my city,” said Brendan Dunn, 21, whom police arrested at the port Monday. “I don’t think military vehicles should be shipped through our city, especially when we know where it’s going: Iraq.”

Protester Sam Green said he was surprised that police arrested demonstrators in the crosswalk.

“Everybody’s a little terrified right now,” he said. “We were doing what we thought was legal.”