6 protesting Shell's Arctic drilling arrested in Seattle

2015-06-10 12:11
A barge used by protesters is anchored in view of the Arctic oil drilling rig Polar Pioneer behind, in Elliott Bay in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson, AP)

A barge used by protesters is anchored in view of the Arctic oil drilling rig Polar Pioneer behind, in Elliott Bay in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson, AP)

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Seattle - 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 spokesperson 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 18:30 until around 10:00 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.

'Sleeping dragons'

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 Lieutenant 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 on 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 spokesperson Peter McGraw.

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

Read more on:    shell  |  us  |  environment  |  pollution

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