Friday, November 18, 2016

Olympia Rail Blockade Over, Proppant Train Leaves Port of Olympia

Above: An early morning raid on the rail blockade camp in Olympia at about 4:30 a.m. The train, carrying several cars of ceramic proppants left Olympia at 7:00 a.m. 

By Janine Gates

While protesters screamed “Water is Life!” the rail blockade of a Union Pacific train in downtown Olympia was cleared by law enforcement in an early morning raid on the camp Friday morning. 

The train tried to leave last Friday with a shipment of ceramic proppants destined for North Dakota, to be used in hydraulic fracking.

The raid began at about 4:00 a.m. and was in full swing by about 4:30 a.m. with protesters drumming and chanting. Women were screaming.

Little Hollywood posted a 13 minute video of the raid on Facebook early Friday morning. Go to or search Janine Gates Olympia to see it. 

Little Hollywood is still trying to determine if there were any injuries to protesters or law enforcement, and more. More information and videos will be posted as soon as possible. 

City of Olympia city manager Steve Hall was on the scene during the raid and said the city assisted Burlington Northern Police and State Patrol in removing the protesters and establishing the perimeter around the scene. 

Regarding the protesters, Hall he saw them confronting Union Pacific workers and block traffic. He said one of them jumped on the back of one of the vehicles. Citing safety concerns of having the protesters near the cleanup action, city police were actively pushing them from the scene.

Above: City of Olympia police and other law enforcement hold the line on the railroad tracks on Jefferson Street. This photo was taken at about 5:46 a.m.

Meanwhile, other protesters, about 20, continued to walk down the tracks, and turned over a Dumpster onto the tracks near Fish Tale Ale. About 17 police officers waited in formation, allowing rail workers to clear the tracks at the camp, and used two flash bang grenades to move the protesters north.

Above: Police put out fire set by protesters on Jefferson Street near the Olympia Dance Center.

Protesters then continued to run north and turn over trash cans and lit several on fire. Police put them out and the protesters ran up to the intersection on State Street, then ran west on State Street.

Above: Washington State Patrol escorts the train off Port of Olympia property and out of Olympia.

The train horn blew and the train came down the tracks escorted by many Washington State Patrol officers. 

At one point, as it was moving up the tracks between 4th and 5th Streets, a woman on the other side of the tracks directly in front of Little Hollywood ran in front of the train. A police officer was there and said, “Oh, no you don’t,” and held her back. Little Hollywood was filming at the time.

Little Hollywood encountered the perimeter of police tape on Legion Way and ran east on Legion Way and around buildings to get to 8th Avenue to see the train continue out of Olympia.

Above: As seen on Union Street, the train leaves Olympia at 7:00 a.m. for North Dakota, carrying ceramic proppants used in hydraulic fracking to allow for oil extraction. 

On 8th Avenue at the railroad tracks, Sky Myers of Olympia screamed at the train as it left, and State Patrol officers walked back in a group on the tracks towards Jefferson Street.

One of them said, “Now what?”

According to a city press release issued at 9:16 a.m., four individuals were arrested by Union Pacific Railroad Police. City of Olympia police arrested eight individuals for misdemeanor crimes that occurred within city jurisdiction as a result of the event.

Another source says that four are currently in the Thurston County Jail, and eight are in the Olympia City Jail at this time. 

Update at 10:11 a.m. - City of Olympia Lt. Paul Lower says there were no injuries that he knows of, to law enforcement and the protesters they have in custody. Also, a correction was made to the time the raid began. Lt. Lower says it started at 4:00 a.m.

For more photos and information about the rail blockade, ceramic proppants, the Port of Olympia, and more, go to and type key words into the search button.