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Originally published May 4, 2009 at 12:00 AM | Page modified May 4, 2009 at 12:01 AM

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11 arrested near Fort Lewis trying to block Strykers headed for Afghanistan

Anti-war protesters were jailed in Pierce County after attempting to block the movement of a Stryker Brigade headed for Afghanistan.

Seattle Times science reporter

Eleven people were arrested Saturday night trying to block a convoy of Stryker military vehicles from Fort Lewis in protest of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Some of the members of Port Militarization Resistance, an anti-war organization with chapters in Tacoma and Olympia, were cited for disorderly conduct and reckless endangerment.

Some were jailed, but all of those had been released by Sunday afternoon after posting bail.

Tacoma police attempted to head off the protest by blocking the entrance to the Port of Tacoma dock where vehicles and equipment from the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division Stryker Brigade Combat Team were being loaded onto ships for deployment to Afghanistan.

But the protesters moved their operations away from the Port, targeting the armored personnel carriers as they pulled out of the gate at Fort Lewis, and at an exit off Interstate 5 that leads to the Port.

The activists either stood or lay down in the road, said spokesman Shyam Khanna. Though their actions only briefly delayed the convoy, Khanna said they helped draw attention to the Obama administration's military buildup in Afghanistan.

"It shows we're willing to make a real sacrifice to accomplish our vision to end the war," he said.

Port Militarization Resistance tries to prevent the shipment of military gear through civilian ports. The cost of one 2008 protest at the Port of Tacoma, which ran 12 days, was estimated at $1 million for extra security.

"Our goal is to raise the economic cost of these military shipments, to the point where no port is willing to take them," said Khanna, who spent 10 days in jail after a 2007 protest at the Port of Olympia.

He said the protests will continue the next several nights, as more Strykers and gear are moved off the fort.

Sandi Doughton: 206-464-2491 or sdoughton@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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