UPDATE: At a press conference about WiFi for the poor, Mayor Ed Murray was asked about the drilling permit and if the city planned further legal action.
Murray said he wasn't interested in a confrontation, but rather changing the port commissioners' minds. He said he believes he accomplished that with the city's stated opposition. He also says the city and the Port of Seattle were in conversations about the Royal Dutch Shell drilling rig.
"My goal is not to score points. My goal is to actually change the commission's mind, the Port Commission's mind and we accomplished that goal." Mayor Ed Murray.
Critics of oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean blocked the gates to a seaport terminal in Seattle , where Royal Dutch Shell's massive floating drill rig will be loaded up before heading to the waters off Alaska this summer.
A few hundred protesters marched across a bridge to Terminal 5, temporarily closing the road during Monday morning's commute. The activists aimed to engage in civil disobedience to stop work on the rig.
They carried signs with slogans such as "Shut The Gates Of Shell" and "Good Planets Are Hard To Find." Other people carried red and yellow flags that turned Shell's corporate symbol, familiar from gas station signs, into a skull and crossbones.
There was a large police presence, with dozens of officers on bicycles. And although some people had anticipated arrests, by mid-afternoon, the protesters left the port peacefully.
Port spokesman Peter McGraw said there are minimal operations at Terminal 5 on Monday "so there's not much to block." He said some work did continue at the terminal. Shell spokesman Curtis Smith said the company respects people's decision to protest but urged them to do so safely and lawfully.
Concerns About Climate Change
Michael Anthony Moynihan, a student at the University of Washington, said he wants to draw attention to the long-term damage of fossil fuel consumption.
"I operate on the principle of ten generations ahead, and whether we're able to stop them or not, when my great-great-great-great-grandchildren ask their grandfather what I did, I want to be on the side that fought to make sure they had a planet to live on," Moynihan said.
Mike Pelly, who drives a 1986 Jetta that runs on biodiesel that he collects from restaurant grease, traveled from Olympia to take part in the protest. He said he's concerned about the environmental impact of a possible oil spill, such as the one that happened in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
"It could be horrendous," he said. "The oil will get in the water, and it's going to be washing with the currents, washing down the West Coast. It's just foolish."