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Wednesday, October 21, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago in Pasco: Police detain men in rail yards during strikes

Soldiers raided the Pasco rail yards and detained 30 men, including three described as “slackers” (draft evaders) and three described as “alien enemies,” The Spokesman-Review reported on Aug. 25, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Soldiers raided the Pasco rail yards and detained 30 men, including three described as “slackers” (draft evaders) and three described as “alien enemies,” The Spokesman-Review reported on Aug. 25, 1917. (Spokesman-Review archives)

Soldiers raided the Pasco rail yards and detained 30 men, including three described as “slackers” (draft evaders) and three described as “alien enemies.”

The others were carrying Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies) cards. The raid came after the Wobblies staged a strike on a high power line under construction between Pasco and Lind, and after another strike in the Northern Pacific Railway icehouse. In the latter strike, “Greek workmen were intimidated into asking for transportation out of the city.”

The captain in charge of the soldiers said, “It will be our duty to see that men who want to work will be protected from intimidation.”

From the Wobbly beat: Meanwhile, four more men were released in the wake of the Wobbly headquarters raid in Spokane. Only 11 men out of the original 27 remained in jail, including the local Wobbly leader, James Rowan.

Rowan announced that he would be seeking the release of the remaining prisoners through federal habeas corpus proceedings. A previous habeas corpus petition in Superior Court had been turned down, but the Wobbly attorney said a federal judge might have jurisdiction in the matter, since the men were arrested under military law.

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