Cross Posted from The Spokesman Review
by Mike Prager
Three more protesters were arrested early Saturday in Coeur d’Alene as a megaload shipment of oil excavation equipment passed through the Lake City.
Law enforcement officers confirmed that the arrests were made by Idaho State Police, but the names were not released.
One woman taken into custody had refused to identify herself, officials said.
The Coeur d’Alene arrests bring to nine the number of persons taken into custody in North Idaho since the 208-foot-long megaload left the Port of Lewiston on Wednesday night.
Its permit allowed nighttime travel, according to the Idaho Transportation Department.
Six protestors were arrested in Moscow early Friday morning, according to the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, which cited court records.
Tierra Linda, a spokeswoman for the protestors, said that concerned residents from North Idaho and Eastern Washington converged on U.S. Highway 95 when the megaload shipment arrived about 12:30 a.m.
According to Idaho Transportation Department, the load was scheduled to leave the Latah/Benewah county line at 10 p.m. on Friday and travel through Coeur d’Alene, stopping by 5:30 a.m. at a pullout on Interstate 90 at milepost 33.
The load is 413,000 pounds and measures 24 feet in width and 14 feet in height. It was to travel at 35 mph. The plan called for allowing vehicles to pass at more than two dozen locations on the route through North Idaho.
Linda described the protest as a “nonviolent public witness to challenge the shipment of ExxonMobil tar sands strip mining equipment to Canada’s threatened Athabasca River Valley.”
She said the people arrested in Coeur d’Alene were legally following the ExxonMobil convoy to monitor any safety violations and did not obstruct the equipment.
She described them as observers who were exercising their right to dissent.
Linda said that despite the arrests, the protestors planned to continue monitoring the megaloads.
Environmental concerns stem from the destructive nature of strip mining and the use of energy to extract oil from the tar sands.
She said it would create an “Appalachian moonscape over central Canada’s boreal forests and river valleys.
Linda, in a news release, quoted a NASA scientist as saying the tar sands mining could be a tipping point for global climate change.
In Latah County, court records identified the protestors arrested in Moscow as Vincent Murray, 61; Brett Haverstick, 38; Mitchell Day, 40; David Willard, 52; Gregory Freistadt, 26; and William French, 55.
They were all charged with misdemeanor unlawful assembly, disturbing the peace and refusal to disperse.
French was also cited by the Latah County Sheriff’s Office for malicious injury to property for allegedly breaking out the side window of the jail van, said Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson.
Associated Press contributed to this report.