The FBI has warned law enforcement agencies across the country that radical environmentalists may stage protests, possibly violent ones, this weekend in support of a jailed arsonist.
The FBI bulletin said the Earth Liberation Front reportedly was planning a "day of action and solidarity" that could include acts of eco-terrorism, said Tor Bjornstad, a police commander in Olympia, one of the cities mentioned as a likely target, on Friday.
Other cities mentioned in the bulletin were Eugene; Ore.; San Francisco; Modesto, Calif.; Morgantown, W. Va.; Portland, Maine; Worcester, Mass.; Lake Worth, Fla.; and Lawrence, Kan., Bjornstad said.
The warning was part of a weekly intelligence bulletin the FBI distributed to some 18,000 law enforcement agencies on Wednesday, said Bill Carter, a spokesman in the FBI's Washington, D.C., headquarters.
While no specific targets were identified in the bulletin, Bjornstad said his department contacted what it considered potential targets, including auto dealerships, building contractors and the Port of Olympia, which exports timber.
“We have to take it seriously, and one of the reasons is that this group has claimed credit for a fair amount of criminal activity in the past several years,” Bjornstad said.
ELF has been linked to fires and vandalism at agriculture research labs, logging operations, car dealerships and construction sites. The group has defended its actions as efforts to stop companies from profiting from exploitation of the environment.
A Web site titled “International Day of Action & Solidarity with Jeff ‘Free’ Luers” featured a list of events planned for Saturday, including protests at SUV dealerships.
Jeff Luers is serving a 22-year sentence in Oregon for a 2000 arson at an auto dealership and an attempted arson at an oil company.