Olympia, WA: Navy ships scared away from fair

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From the Olympian, via Seattle Indymedia:

Three naval ships will not be coming to this year’s Capital Lakefair, festival president Teri Chmielewski said today.

Chmielewski said Chris Haley, a spokesman for Navy Region Northwest, told her the U.S. naval vessel and two Canadian ships would not be coming due to “operational requirements.”

Haley could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Navy had requested six to 10 police officers to provide security for the Everett-based USS Ingraham and two ships based in Victoria, British Columbia: the HMCS Saskatoon and the HMCS Whitehorse. Their visit was scheduled for July 20-23.

But a majority of Olympia City Council members said Tuesday they would not grant the request for officers, mainly out of cost concerns.

Twelve out of 15 people who spoke about the ships at last week’s Olympia City Council meeting opposed inviting the vessels. They said residents don’t want them because they are emblems of war, that they are used as a military recruitment tool and that they will spark costly protests.

Chmielewski said Lakefair was looking elsewhere for funding to provide security for the ships, which were going to offer tours during the annual summer festival. Local longshoremen offered $5,000 to pay for security, and the Olympia Police Department was drawing up a security plan. Thurston County Sheriff Dan Kimball also offered deputies to patrol the event.

Past news on activist resistance to the military in Olympia here and here.

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