About a ton of debris left after climate protest in Skagit County

ANACORTES, Wash. -- Authorities say about a ton of debris was left on the ground after weekend environmental protest in northwest Washington.

The anti-oil protesters say they were forced to leave the area and didn't have time to grab all their belongings before being arrested.

Local authorities say the debris they took to the dump included camping equipment left by people who slept on railroad tracks near Anacortes.

Protesters staged multiple demonstrations against fossil fuels over the weekend. But some in the local community say the trash they left along the BNSF railroad tracks presents a mixed message.

On Sunday morning, police gave about 150 activists a warning to leave or face arrest. Some grabbed their belongings and left but others continued with their civil disobedience and more than 50 were arrested.

The Skagit County Public Works department hauled away 2300 pounds of debris.

The activists say those items were valuable gear, camping equipment and clothing they never wanted to leave behind.

“Prior to making any arrests, we did advise protesters that they could move to designated locations near March’s Point and lawfully demonstrate,” said Skagit County Sheriff Will Reichardt.