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2007-03-09

Tacoma Peace Activists Stage Blockade of Stryker Vehicles Headed for Iraq

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Peace activists in Tacoma, Washington have launched a campaign to prevent the military from shipping 300 Stryker armored vehicles to Iraq. The protests are expected to intensify this weekend as activists are planning to engage in acts of civil disobedience to prevent the Stryker vehicles from leaving the port. [includes rush transcript]

We end the show in Tacoma Washington where peace activists have launched a campaign to prevent the military from shipping 300 Stryker armored vehicles to Iraq. On Sunday night four activists were arrested at the Port of Tacoma. The protests are expected to intensify this weekend as activists are planning to engage in acts of civil disobedience to prevent the Stryker vehicles from leaving the port. Last year dozens of people were arrested at the Port of Olympia in similar actions. Following those protests, the military decided to stop using the Port of Olympia.

  • Wally Cuddeford. Navy veteran who was arrested and tasered on Sunday at a protest at the Port of Tacoma.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We move now to end our broadcast in Tacoma, Washington.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes, in Tacoma, Washington, where peace activists have launched a campaign to prevent the military from shipping 300 Stryker armored vehicles to Iraq. On Sunday night, four activists were arrested at the Port of Tacoma. The protests are expected to intensify this weekend, as activists are planning to engage in acts of civil disobedience to prevent the Stryker vehicles from leaving the port.

AMY GOODMAN: Last year, dozens of people were arrested at the Port of Olympia in similar actions. Following those protests, the military decided to stop using the Port of Olympia.

Navy veteran Wally Cuddeford joins us on the phone. He was arrested Sunday and was tasered by the police. Why were you arrested? What happened exactly, Wally?

WALLY CUDDEFORD: I was standing in the crowd of protesters — oh, thank you for having me on the show, Amy. I was standing in the crowd of protesters, and the police grabbed me and threw me down on the gravel, rubbed my face in the gravel, causing wounds I still have on my face. While being under a pile of about four police officers, they began applying their taser to me in my back ordering me to put my arms behind my back. My arms were pinned under my own body. I could not move them. They tasered me three times while I was down on the ground and then dragged me across the pavement and charged me with third-degree assault.

During this time, they also assaulted another port militarization resistance organizer, Caitlin Esworthy, and later on that evening shot another organizer, Jeff Berryhill, in the leg with a rubber bullet. And we were all three charged with third-degree assault. The county has since dropped those charges.

AMY GOODMAN: Why are you protesting?

WALLY CUDDEFORD: Oh, our goal is to stop military shipments from Fort Lewis going to Iraq. We were successful in stopping those shipments through the Port of Olympia, and now we are helping our friends in Tacoma stop the shipments there. The shipments are Stryker vehicles. They are speedy combat transports, armed transports. They are the backbone of the occupation. Half of these Stryker divisions are out of Fort Lewis. If we are able to cut off Fort Lewis’s supply of Stryker vehicles to Iraq, we could easily end this occupation.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And what kind of coverage have you gotten in the local press there or attention that’s been given to the protest locally?

WALLY CUDDEFORD: We’ve been given lots of coverage, especially after I was assaulted. Some of the coverage has been strange. I was ejected — actually I was ejected from the Tacoma city council meeting and arrested the following night for trying to tell them what had happened to me, and they didn’t seem to care. And a lot of the news coverage has been like "Unidentified protester arrested at Tacoma city council meeting," even though I gave my name five times.

AMY GOODMAN: Wally Cuddeford, I want to thank you for being with us. We’ll continue to follow this protest through the weekend. Navy veteran arrested on Sunday at a protest at Port of Tacoma in Washington.

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