Reportback from Seattle area activists:
Over the weekend, thirty activists from all over the Pacific Northwest converged in Seattle for a day of home demos throughout the area at the houses of people with the University of Washington and Skanska who are integral in the plans for the new lab.
Demo #1: Michael Young, University of Washington President; 808 36th Ave. E, Seattle
Activists first went to the mansion of Michael Young, the very same mansion where the UW Regents held secret discussions about voting to approve funding for the lab -- a violation of Washington's Open Public Meetings Act and the subject of an ongoing lawsuit against the Regents. The protest kicked off with an activist announcing that they were at the mansion because the UW is planning to build a new lab and that the UW will continue to be under international pressure until they terminate plans to build the new lab. The activists then engaged in high energy chants and left chalk messages all over the street in front of his house, and even took the protest to the front porch of the house. On the porch, activists yelled with bullhorns at the front door and told Michael that the new lab will not be built.
Demo #2: Dave Harrison, Skanska Seattle Senior Vice President and Officer in Charge for the lab project
After a powerful start to the day at Michael's house, activists went to the house of Dave Harrison. They began the protest with a march through his neighborhood, chanting "Dave Harrision has blood on his hands!" When the activists reached Dave's house, they gathered in front of it to continue with their chants and to write chalk messages. Upset neighbors came out of their houses to yell at the protesters, but activists let them know that the protest was only happening because Dave signed the preconstruction contract for the lab and Skanska continues to move forward with building plans.
Demo #3: Lew Guerrette, Team Leader for the lab project
The activists then made their way to the house of Lew and Linda Guerrette for the first home demo against Lew in this campaign. Prior to the protest, an activist visited the house and had the chance to talk with the couple, who expressed support for the campaign and said that they don't like what happens to animals in labs (they have three dogs who seem to be very loved)...yet Lew's name appears all over the preconstruction paperwork to facilitate the contract between the UW and Skanska. Seems as though Lew needs to sit back with a glass of Sonoma Zinfandel and do some soul searching. What would he do if it were his dogs who were destined to be tortured in the lab he's helping to build? Watch activists from under his window curtains as they call on him to do what he can to stop the lab plans, or decide that he's going to not let a paycheck cause him to ignore the suffering of dogs and other animals in labs? Lew, it's time to think with your heart instead of your bank account.
Demo #4: Chris Toher, Skanska Seattle Executive Vice President
For the second time this week, activists then visited the luxury home of Chris and Erin Toher. Since they always refuse to answer their door to talk about the bloody business in which Chris is involved, the activists began the protest at the front door to make sure that the Tohers could hear every word of their demand for Skanska to cut the contract with UW. The activists then continued with the protest in the street, on which they left chalk messages for Chris and his neighbors to see. After awhile, local police officers arrived and told activists to stay out of the street (that not a single car drove down) because they wanted to "look out for everyone's safety"...but of course they followed activists to theirs cars and wrote down everyone's license plate numbers and tried to ask activists questions about how the protest was organized. Friendly reminder: Don't talk to cops. They are allowed to lie to you, and they try to gather information about activists.
Demo #5: Bill Ayer, Chair of the UW Board of Regents; 15829 SE 56th Pl., Bellevue
The final protest of the day was at the home of Bill Ayer; it is the Regents who voted to approve construction of the lab, and it will ultimately be the Regents who decide to terminate the lab construction. As the Chair, Ayer holds a lot of power over the future of how many animals will be tortured at the UW. Again, the activists started the protest at the front door, where they shouted into the house that Bill does not get to have secret meetings about lab plans or sit around a fancy conference table and vote to sentence animals to life and death in a lab and expect to not be held accountable. The activists then took the protest to the public trail that runs along the side of Bill's house, just feet away from his windows. As they chanted, Bill and others in the house watched through the blinds. Bill can continue in his pattern of trying to hide from his responsibility for the lab, but activists will continue to expose him. As the activists left, an upset neighbor approached to talk with them. She asked if activists are going to continue to protest and make noise in their neighborhood. Yes, until the UW terminates their plans for the lab. Neighbors should direct their comments to Bill and ask him to end the lab plans so that their neighborhood will be quiet again.
Activists from throughout the Northwest and around the world are coming together to pressure the University of Washington and Skanska to terminate all plans to build the new lab. This campaign is growing. The animal liberation movement has awoken, and it intends to make history by stopping the construction of this lab.