August 28, 2011 in City, Idaho

Megaload protest leads to 3 arrests

By The Spokesman-Review
 

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 Idaho State Police made the arrests, but the protesters’ names were not released.

One woman taken into custody refused to identify herself, officials said.

Nine people have now been taken into custody in North Idaho while protesting the 208-foot-long truckload, which left the Port of Lewiston on Thursday night.

The megaload’s permit allows night travel, according to the Idaho Transportation Department.

Six protesters were arrested in Moscow early Friday morning, according to the Moscow-Pullman Daily News.

In Coeur d’Alene, Tierra Linda, a spokeswoman for the protesters, said 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 the ITD, the load was scheduled to leave the Latah-Benewah county line at 10 p.m. Friday and travel through Coeur d’Alene, stopping by 5:30 a.m. at milepost 33 at a pullout on Interstate 90.

It was to continue on Saturday night and early today to Lookout Pass and the Idaho-Montana state line.

The load weighs 413,000 pounds and measures 24 feet wide and 14 feet high. It is permitted to travel 35 mph. The plan calls 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.” Oil extraction in the tar sands would create an “Appalachian moonscape over central Canada’s boreal forests and river valleys,” Linda said.

The people arrested in Coeur d’Alene were legally following the ExxonMobil convoy to monitor any safety violations and they did not obstruct the equipment, she said. The protesters plan to continue monitoring the megaloads, she said. In Latah County, court records identified the protesters 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 a jail van, Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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