In Tacoma, Washington, peace activists are continuing campaign to prevent the military from shipping 300 Stryker armored vehicles to Iraq. On Sunday, 23 protesters were arrested, including T.J. Johnson, who serves in the City Council of Olympia. He just got out of jail and joins us on the phone. [includes rush transcript]
AMY GOODMAN: We wrap up today’s broadcast in Tacoma, Washington, where peace activists are continuing to campaign to prevent the military from shipping 300 Stryker armored vehicles to Iraq. On Sunday, 23 protesters were arrested, including T.J. Johnson, who serves in the City Council of Olympia. He just got out of jail and joins us on the phone.
Welcome to Democracy Now!, T.J. Johnson. We just have two minutes. Explain what happened this weekend. Why did you get arrested?
T.J. JOHNSON: We got arrested while performing nonviolent civil disobedience [inaudible] part of the ongoing campaign to prevent the deployment of the 4th Stryker Brigade as part of President Bush’s escalation of the conflict in Iraq.
AMY GOODMAN: And what exactly did you do?
T.J. JOHNSON: Well, 23 people were arrested yesterday. Eight of those people were arrested for violating a ban on backpacks in the protest zone, and they were arrested [inaudible] First Amendment rights. An additional 15 people, including myself, were arrested as we attempted to deliver a citizens’ injunction to halt the shipment of military material to Iraq.
AMY GOODMAN: And what is happening now?
T.J. JOHNSON: Well, all 23 of the people arrested yesterday are now out of jail. We were released approximately two hours ago. The campaign to continue our opposition to the use of our publicly funded ports to support the escalation of the conflict in Iraq will continue for as long as it needs to. We’re into this for eight days now. I believe we have a total of 30 people who have been arrested at this point, and spirits are still high and resistance remains strong.
AMY GOODMAN: What kind of support are you getting in the community?
T.J. JOHNSON: Quite a bit. We put out a call for people to witness the action by the 23 individuals yesterday, and we had over a hundred people show up there to witness that action, to videotape the action, to take still photographs and to document what was going on, and we continue to receive positive feedback via the website, email, telephone calls, both from throughout western Washington and around the nation.
AMY GOODMAN: T.J. Johnson, I want to thank for being with us, just out of jail, Olympia city councilman protesting Stryker vehicles being sent to Iraq.