Police Confront Protesters in Brunswick

What started as an environmental march in Brunswick at the Hercules chemical plant soon escalated into something more.

"We had a tense situation, because we had a permit to go from the school to the Hercules site," Cathy Gatling from Saint Simons Island.

She was one of more than a hundred demonstrators speaking out against sites like Hercules, when a small group of protesters decided to cross the causeway to Saint Simons.

"I know I didn't know about it," said Gatling. "But I wasn't surprised. I wasn't surprised at all."

What happened was a standoff with police that would block traffic for more than an hour. "We have the right," shouted one protester. "We need to take back the power from these people."

Negotiators within the group warned protesters to move at their own risk. "If you try to exercise your legal right to cross the cause walk in what was once a democracy, you may well be arrested for that," one said.

Eventually, both sides struck a deal.

"We compromised with them," said Sgt. Kevin Jones of the Brunswick police. "We let them cross Highway 17, and they crossed back on this side, the west side of Highway 17."

Police in riot gear made sure they went no further.

Cathy Gatling was just glad it ended peacefully. "It was tense, it was tense. It was a waiting game, and I'm glad everything worked out all right."

No one was hurt, and no one was arrested.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com