The first shots of the 16th annual "Slaughter Across the Water" were fired Monday night in Annapolis.
Waving flags and chanting "21403! We are the MRE!" members of the Maritime Republic of Eastport stormed the City Council chambers during Monday night's meeting, announcing the next battle in an annual feud with the rest of Annapolis.
Since 1998, the rivalry between districts has been settled by a tug-of-war. A rope stretches across Spa Creek from from Second Street and Severn Avenue to Susan B. Campbell Park on City Dock, in what may be the longest international Tug-of-War over water in the world.
The war started on Super Bowl Sunday in 1998 when the residents of Eastport felt excluded from the city while the Compromise Street bridge was closed for repairs.
Annapolis Mayor Josh Cohen, once a resident of Eastport, was among the first members of the MRE when it was founded. The Baltimore Sun reported that the MRE reminded him of that with jeers of "traitor" from the crowd.
In response, Cohen had the trophy from years past brought in, saying: "We let this speak for itself," drawing boos from the audience.