In Bellingham, near the Canadian border:
This Saturday, February 24th, over 100 people who rallied in front of Bellingham, WA’s Military Recruitment Center demanding an end to both the US occupation of Iraq and military recruitment in schools. The event, called in part by Northwest Students for a Democratic Society, was done in coordination with similar actions in both Tacoma and Olympia.
The rally managed to shut down the center for about 30 minutes, as the recruiters locked their door and turned off their lights. Police presence was moderate, with several squad cars stationed in a parking lot across the street, but never – to my knowledge – interacting with the event.
In Olympia, near the southern part of the state:
A group of 8 people met in Yauger park at 10 AM this Saturday. It was raining and, much to my dismay, one of the main busses that would have taken people to the park was not running. As we were waiting there, we saw a bunch of amerikan flags by the recruiting center across the street. It became clear that these were counter-protesters.
We walked over to the center and began to mingle with the freedom fighters. The center, which was supposed to be open from 10-1 was closed, the doors locked and the blinds down. The patriots outnumbered us by nearly 2 to 1. Nevertheless, we stayed there for about 2 hours, talking with them. One man lost his cool and started yelling at one of us. He angrily stormed off and, soon after, 2 cops arrived but nothing happened with them. Finally, we got tired and left.
And in Tacoma:
On February 24, 2007, a protest/rally/carnival was held at military recruitment center in Tacoma, WA. This action was planned in coordination with same-day events in Bellingham and Olympia.
Publicity for the Tacoma protest was kept pretty low-key to keep the recruiters and cops from finding out, and encourage more spontaneous and open interaction between ourselves and with the public. Authorities somehow did find out, and this was the most obvious lesson to be learned from the event: that the State can access information we may not consider readily accessible, and the fact of people assembling — no matter the scale — necessitates an overwhelming show of force.
Not as many people as anticipated made it to the protest, as there were about 15 activists. We may have easily been outnumbered by police, with a count of 9 cop cars, at least 4 bicycle cops, and one van. It wasn’t as much of a carnival without lots of people there, but there were a costume and some bubble blowing. So we held signs, handed out some counter-recruitment information to passersby, and some participants went into the center to “get some info about joining the military.” A banner reading “END WAR – STOP RECRUITING” was discovered nearby over I-5 the same day.