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Protesters storm EGT grain terminal in Washington state

CHICAGO (Reuters) - More than 500 protesting port workers stormed the EGT grain terminal at the Port of Longview, Washington, on Thursday and damaged railcars and other property, Longview Police Chief Jim Duscha said.

The incident came a day after several of Longshoremen were arrested after blocking a train from arriving at the newly constructed facility owned by EGT, LLC, which is a joint venture of Bunge Ltd, ITOCHU International Inc and STX Pan Ocean Inc.

Early on Thursday, the protesters stormed the EGT facility, smashed guard shack windows, pushed a security vehicle into a ditch, cut brake lines on several rail cars and dumped grain from some cars onto the ground, Duscha said.

No one was injured and protesters disbursed before police arrived so no arrests were made, he said. Police were still assessing the damage.

The action was the latest in an increasingly tense dispute between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents the protesting workers, and EGT.

The union said it had an agreement with the Port of Longview that required the hiring of workers from the local ILWU chapter to man the facility. EGT planned to hire workers from a different union.

"We fully support prosecution of this criminal behavior to the fullest extent under the law," EGT CEO Larry Clarke said. "Issues between EGT, the Port, and the ILWU should be resolved peacefully in a court of law."

ILWU spokesman Roy San Filippo said it was a "wildcat action" that was not sanctioned by the union.

(Reporting by Karl Plume)

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