Police brief merchants on downtown protest next weekend

By Todd Matthews, Editor

Tacoma police officers this morning briefed Downtown Merchants Group members of a two-day protest next week that aims to shut down Tacoma’s central business district.

The event, which will be held Nov. 9 and Nov. 10 and is entitled ‘Shut Down Tacoma,’ aims to protest the operation of a Homeland Security Detention Center located on the Tacoma tide flats, according to an announcement posted on Infoshop News by protest organizers ( http://www.infoshop.org/inews/article.php?story=20071030204745893 ). The site bills itself as an independent news service for anarchist news and opinion.

“Downtown Will NOT have business as usual!” reads the announcement. “We plan on shutting down the downtown area of Tacoma to send a very clear message that will be heard by all that we do not want this detention facility anywhere near us and our communities.”

According to the post, organizers will established a ‘Green Zone’ at S. 17th St. and Pacific Ave., near Tollefson Plaza and a grassy park across from Tacoma Art Museum, to engage in legal forms of protest, including music, signs, and banners. “The rest of downtown will be open to diverse and creative tactics,” reads the post.

Tacoma Police Lt. Corey Darlington told DMG members that officers in Sector One, which includes downtown, were preparing for the event — particularly any activities outside the so-called ‘green zone’ that might include blocking Link Light Rail or damaging property downtown.

“We don’t want to create a panic, but we do want to be prepared,” said Darlington
Tacoma Police officer Marty Price asked merchants to remove any portable items from their storefronts. He also encouraged them to report any suspicious activity during the protest. “We need you to be our eyes and ears,” said Price. “If you see anything suspicious, call it in.”