"When Schell called, Kitsap answered"
June 11, 2008 · Updated 10:45 AM
"Two hundred local National Guardsmen left for Seattle Tuesday night after Seattle Mayor Paul Schell called a state of civil emergency in the city. Half of one of the two National Guard units called to Seattle is headquartered at the Bremer-ton Armory and in Port Orchard.Schells decision came after two days of protests against the World Trade Organization.They were greeted by an estimated 50,000 protestors. By Tuesday night, Schell was calling for help from National Guardsman. A unit comprised partially of Kitsap County residents the first battalion of the 303rd National Guard Division was called up.When deployed Wednesday, the National Guardsmen were not armed with the rifles and pistols they usually carry. Instead, they carried batons to assist in crowd control, said Major Phil Logan, the Army public affairs officer for the Washington National Guard.We are working for the Seattle Police Department, and we will re-assess the situation as we go into the afternoon and they will make the decision on when to send the guardsmen home, Logan said. All of these people have families and jobs and we asked them to leave those lives yesterday afternoon as most of them were getting home from work. Six or seven hours later we had them on the streets of Seattle, Logan said. We want to get these guys as quickly as possible to their homes and families.State Patrol Trooper Tom Foster said state troopers from as far away as Spokane County went to Seattle to support the Seattle Police Department.Troopers from Kitsap were no exception. I cant say it could be two people or 10 people coming over Puget Sound from Kitsap to work as state troopers, Foster said. Many of the troopers were assigned to insure that Interstate 5 traffic continues to flow as well as clearing intersections to allow WTO delegates to move in and around the Seattle-King County Convention Center. No state troopers were taking part in the riot units, Foster said.Kitsap County sheriffs department officials said Wednesday that no Kitsap deputies were assisting in the WTO police force.Conflict broke out between the Seattle Police Department and the estimated 50,000 protesters from around the world Tuesday morning and escalated in hot spots around Seattle throughout the day. By evening, a contingent of protesters vandalized and looted shops like the Stewart Street Starbucks Coffee shop, and police sprayed pepper spray and detonated tear gas canisters on hundreds of protesters. Along with the state of civil emergency, Schell declared a 12-hour curfew in the heart of downtown Seattle and authorized police forces to sweep the city streets for stragglers."