POLL: Occupy Tacoma Group Wanted To "Make Its Presence Known" During Santorum Speech

The protesters tried their hardest to interrupt the GOP presidential hopeful's speech Monday night at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma.

TACOMA, WA-The Occupy Tacoma group might not be the largest of the Occupy Wall Street movement, but it sounded like one of the loudest during

Jessica Dawley provided one of the group’s voices.

The 21-year-old Tacoma native stood in the lower bowl area during the GOP presidential hopeful’s speech at the Washington State History Museum, chanting and protesting with other members of the Occupy Tacoma group.

Dawley spoke to Patch immediately after the event.

Communicating mostly through word-of-mouth and social media beforehand and facing eviction from its Tacoma encampment, they positioned themselves prior to Santorum’s address. After they started, the chants were so loud and unrelenting, Santorum had to stop and address them.

Their main cause, according to Dawley, was standing against much of Santorum’s socially conservative platform, including same-sex marriage. Coincidentally, Gov. Christine Gregoire signed into law legislation to allow for same-sex marriage on Monday.

At one point, Tacoma police handcuffed and escorted out two of the 20 or so protesters in the lower area. Dawley said the two men–whom she identified as “Ryan and Robert”--were brothers.

As she explains it, the protesters were chanting and were pushed by Santorum supporters, which prompted a mini-melee as the GOP candidate spoke. Police tried to detain and pull away one of the brothers, and the other brother grabbed him so police couldn’t take him away. Eventually, authorities arrested both of them.

Several media outlets reported that police arrested a woman who allegedly showered a Santorum with a “glitter bomb” after his speech.

“It was definitely hard” to remain in the lower area while being shouted down by Santorum supporters, said Dawley, who first settled at the Occupy Tacoma encampment two weeks after it was established. “In my opinion, and this is myself only, I feel they (Santorum supporters) do not know what they’re talking about.”

But many of those supporters appeared frustrated that the protesters lacked a basic level of decorum by trying to prevent Santorum from speaking.

“All they’re interested in is shouting out,” Santorum said over the protesters at one point. “Why? Because if they have a reasonable, rational discussion, they can’t be successful.”

But Dawley, who said the group will be posting its own video of Monday night’s protest on the Internet, said she realizes the group is going to be made to “look like the bad guy by the mainstream media,” but it will continue to make its voice heard.

“We haven’t been out there as much as the rest--Occupy Oakland, Occupy Wall Street,” she said. “We definitely want to make our presence known.”

Jane Milhans February 14, 2012 at 03:32 PM
I love the "Let's all be tolerant of each other and give peace and love a chance" hypocrites. Their time would be better spent volunteering in the community or actually working so they can give back something good to society and make a positive difference.
John Gawron February 14, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Sheep are hardly noticed ---- Barking dogs are. It's the "getting noticed" part that lays the foundation for change.
Cat Jeter February 14, 2012 at 03:58 PM
None of the choices in the poll reflect my opinion. Let me do a little cut and paste for another option. Choice 4: I support the Occupy movement, but deplore many of their tactics which deny other's their right to free speech. Nonetheless, no one was aparently hurt, a variety of voices were heard from, Occupy captures the headlines again and Rick Santorum got more press than he likely would have with this event otherwise. A GOOD day in political debate in Tacoma.
Moses' wife was Nigerian February 14, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Elect a republican so they can deregulate more banks and finish the destruction that Bush started, all while protecting the rich from paying a fair tax percentage. You Nascar fans are brilliant.
marvin lindsey February 14, 2012 at 08:06 PM
You are right about Bush, he was shoved down our throuts, and was elected before anyone new who he was, there was no choice, all decisions were made before we had a chance to weighin. He was not Ronald R. and we tursted the leaders of the grand old party. how foolish. I didn't even like his dad. Look where we are now, a war in the GOP. 4 more years.


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