Capital Press

LONGVIEW, Wash. -- The president of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union surrendered Monday at the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office, where he was cited and released.

Robert McEllrath, of Vancouver, Wash., is charged with second-degree criminal trespass and obstructing or delaying a train for his actions on Sept. 7, according to the sheriff's office.

More than a dozen other protesters have also been arrested in connection with incidents at the Longview port, including one in which hundreds of protesters stormed the facility, detained guards, dumped grain and damaged facilities.

The ILWU is protesting a decision by EGT LLC to hire workers through a different union at its new grain terminal. EGT has gone to court to clarify whether its lease requires that ILWU members be hired.

McEllrath's court date was set for Oct. 5.

On Sept. 21, 12 arrests were made when protesters attempted to stop a train arriving at the grain terminal. Two protesters attacked the officers, said Grover Laseke, spokesman for the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office. One protester held an officer in a headlock and pulled him to the ground; the other swung a sign at an officer.

Both attackers were pepper-sprayed, placed under arrest and charged with felonies, he said.

All 12 face misdemeanor charges of second-degree criminal trespass and obstructing a train.

No law enforcement officers suffered injuries, but one protester went to the hospital with an apparent shoulder injury.

Laseke said every law enforcement office in Cowlitz County responded to the Sept. 12 incident, including officers from Clark, Lewis, Thurston and King counties and U.S. marshals. He would not say how many officers were on the scene.

A district judge had previously declared two ILWU locals in contempt Sept. 15, saying there was no defense for the aggressive tactics.

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