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Arctic oil protesters rally at Seattle port where Shell rig is docked

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KING-5 TV, Seattle and Associated Press: May 18, 2015

Arctic oil protesters rally at Seattle port where Shell rig is docked

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SEATTLE — People protesting Arctic oil drilling marched Monday to the entrance of Terminal 5 at the Port of Seattle Monday, where a massive floating drill rig is parked on the waterfront.

Police say arrests are possible, but they expect the demonstration to be peaceful.

Port spokesman Peter McGraw says there are minimal operations at Terminal 5 on Monday “so there’s not much to block.”

The demonstration entered the street at 11 Avenue Southwest and Southwest Spokane Street after 7 a.m. Pacific. Protesters reached Terminal 5 just before 8 a.m.

Police officers were already stationed in front of the terminal when the group of activists arrived. Drivers in the area experienced some delays as the march moved through the area. A Seattle police presence was visible at the Port of Seattle before 6 a.m., as officers prepared for protesters on land and on the water.

The Polar Pioneer, which Royal Dutch Shell hopes to use to drill off Alaska’s northwest coast this summer, arrived in Seattle on Thursday. Hundreds of protesters in kayaks and other vessels turned out on Saturday for a protest dubbed the “Paddle in Seattle,” and on Monday, organizers say they expect hundreds to flood the Port of Seattle’s Terminal 5 and Harbor Island.

They say they’re planning to engage in civil disobedience to stop any work on the rig.

The protesters say they are concerned about the risk of oil spill in the Arctic as well as the effects of burning fossil fuels on climate change. Officials in Alaska have touted the money the drilling could bring the state, as well as economic benefits to the Pacific Northwest, which uses much of Alaska’s oil.

On Friday, the Seattle Department of Planning and Development formally determined that Terminal 5 is not permitted for oil equipment maintenance. The Port could face fines if it does acquire the correct permit.

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