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.”