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Police make drug arrests at sleepy Occupy Olympia site

The scene at Occupy Olympia.
Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network
The scene at Occupy Olympia.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Occupy Olympia, part of the Occupy Wall Street movement, has been a rather sleepy affair. That is until this past weekend. That’s when state troopers moved in and made a series of arrests.

Over the past three weeks, Occupy Olympia has occupied a swath of lawn next to Capitol Lake. This tent city in the shadow of the statehouse doesn’t have a permit. But state officials have allowed the hundred or so activists to stay nonetheless.

All was fairly quiet until this past Friday. That’s when a small group set up five tents closer to the Capitol building. Several state troopers responded. In the end two protestors were arrested after they refused to break camp.

Then over the weekend in the main camp, the State Patrol served a search warrant on one of the tents. Trooper Guy Gill says they had gotten a tip about possible drug dealing.

“We’re going above and beyond letting them stay there however in this case we will not tolerate the use or distribution of drugs in that park whatsoever,” Gill said.

Gill says the search turned up some methamphetamine. Five people in and around that tent now face charges, including one for felony possession of drugs.

On the national scene

The Associated Press reports that Occupy Wall Street is going on the road — a two-week walk to Washington.

A small group of activists plans to leave Manhattan's Zuccotti Park at noon Wednesday and arrive by the Nov. 23 deadline for a congressional committee to decide whether to keep President Barack Obama's extension of Bush-era tax cuts. Protesters say the cuts benefit only rich Americans.

The announcement came the same day that David Crosby and Graham Nash, of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, planned an acoustic performance in the park for supports and passers-by.

Kelley Brannon is organizing the 240-mile march through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland with a core group of a dozen activists, picking up other marchers along the way — even if for a day, or only an hour, they say.

"Occupy the Highway" — as it's been dubbed — will start from the Manhattan park where the first Occupy encampment was set up, with a ferry ride across the Hudson River from West 34th Street to Elizabeth, N.J.


Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy as well as the Washington State legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia." Prior to joining the Northwest News Network, Austin worked as a television reporter in Seattle, Portland and Boise. Austin is a graduate of Garfield High School in Seattle and Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut. Austin’s reporting has been recognized with awards from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors, Public Radio News Directors Incorporated and the Society of Professional Journalists.