At the end of the day, a team of protesters with Break Free, which is staging protests at the two refineries on March's Point, blocked the rail line leading to the two refineries, but the protest is some five miles from March's Point.
"We are aware of the group and they are being monitored right now," was the initial response from a spokesman for the joint law enforcement task force charged with responding to the protest.
A short while later, at around 9pm Friday night, law enforcement announced the closure of Farm-to-Market Rd. at Highwayt 20. The statement, from the law enforcement task force, which identified itself as the Unified Commmand, said protesters were in the area on both sides of the Farm-to-Market Rd.
Protesters, including these kayaktivists in training at Seafarers’ Memorial Park, spent much of Friday gearing up for protests scheduled for the weekend at March's Point, though Friday was a quiet day. Until late Friday, when protesters blocked a rail line.
Kayakers will take to the water on Saturday in an effort to block tankers from accessing the piers for the two refineries, but on Friday, at least, there was no sign of oil tankers in the bay.
Meanwhile, officials at the county Emergency Management department reported no traffic problems, even though parts of March’s Point is closed to traffic, except for refinery workers.
Cmdr. Brian Meier, chief of response at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound, answred to questions at a press brief about Coast Guard operations. He said Coast Guard boat crews will be on scene throughout the weekend to monitor the safety of kayak-based protesters and to ensure waterways remain open for all recreational and commercial boaters to transit the area.
The protest is planned by Break Free Pacific Northwest to pressure the oil industry and government leaders to reduce the use of fossil fuels, including oil which is processed at the two refineries on March’s Point.
Shell refinery Human Resources Manager Robin Yates said that they will keep employees on-site during the protest as a safety precaution. "Safety is our top priority and cannot be compromised ... Shell is taking what we consider to be the appropriate precautionary steps to provide the safest environment for our employees, the community and the protestors."
Saturday will feature an Indigenous Day of Action, as protestors go on a three mile procession that will end at the northeast tip of March’s Point for a ceremony.