6 protest­ing Shell’s Arc­tic drilling ar­rested in Seat­tle

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

Six ac­tivists protest­ing Shell’s plans to drill for oil in the Arc­tic Ocean were ar­rested Tues­day, five who blocked en­trances to the Seat­tle port where the com­pany’s mas­sive rig is parked and an­other who dis­rupted a port com­mis­sion meet­ing.

In the morn­ing, five ac­tivists tried to block work at the port to pre­vent the ship from head­ing to the wa­ters off Alaska, a spokes­woman for the Shel­lNo Ac­tion Coun­cil told The Seat­tle Times.

Seat­tle po­lice ar­rested five mem­bers of a group called the Seat­tle Rag­ing Grannies, who had chained them­selves to­gether in rocking chairs. The five women — the old­est was 92 — were ar­rested for in­ves­ti­ga­tion of ob­struc­tion and pedes­trian in­ter­fer­ence. They were pro­cessed then quickly re­leased from the depart­ment’s South­west Precinct in West Seat­tle.

They were ar­rested for block­ing train tracks out­side Ter­mi­nal 5, of­fi­cers said.

Trains go­ing through the area were held from 6:30 a.m. un­til around 10 a.m. be­cause of the protest, BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas said.

The grannies were part of two si­mul­ta­ne­ous protests in Seat­tle on Tues­day morn­ing against Shell’s off­shore oil rig, which is at the ter­mi­nal be­ing pre­pared for Arc­tic drilling this sum­mer.

A group of younger pro­test­ers camped out on an overpass above, with two heavy oil drums and signs, while the grannies chained their wooden rocking chairs to­gether on the BNSF Rail­way tracks be­low. The women were also bound to­gether by home­made arm sleeves.

Seat­tle

po­lice

Lt. Jim Arata warned the younger pro­test­ers that they had to move their oil drums and get off the overpass above Ter­mi­nal 5 or face ar­rest. When of­fi­cers ar­rived with a truck full of saws, jack­ham­mers and other heavy-duty tools in case the pro­test­ers were chained to the oil drums, the pro­test­ers got up and walked away. The five grannies stayed. Mem­bers of the de­vice-re­moval team spent about 10 min­utes saw­ing and cut­ting into two sep­a­rate “sleep­ing dragons,” which linked four of the grannies to­gether by the arms.

When po­lice sawed through the duct- tape- cov­ered arm sleeves, they found rope, re­bar, metal and burlap, Arata said. Po­lice cov­ered the grannies in fire­proof blan­kets to pro­tect them from fly­ing de­bris while of­fi­cials cut through the sleeves.

Later Tues­day af­ter­noon, ac­tivists demon­strated out­side the Port of Seat­tle head­quar­ters. A com­mis­sion meet­ing was quickly ad­journed when pro­test­ers dis­rupted the meet­ing, and one per­son was ar­rested for tres­pass­ing, said port spokesman Peter McGraw.

Mean­while, other pro­test­ers took to their tele­phones to en­gage in an “elec­tronic block­ade” of lo­cal busi­nesses sup­port­ing Royal Dutch Shell PLC. Busi­nesses tar­geted in­cluded the In­ter­na­tional Long­shore and Ware­house Union Lo­cal 19, Jones Steve­dor­ing, Carlile Truck­ing, In­ci­dent Cater­ing Ser­vices and Foss Mar­itime Co.

Pro­test­ers Cyn­thia Linet, left, and An­nette Klap­stein protest in front of the en­trance to the Seat­tle port in Seat­tle on Tues­day, June 9.

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