Protesters prevent Israeli ship from unloading at Port of Oakland – CBS San Francisco
OAKLAND (CBS SF / BCN) – Hundreds of demonstrators protested the arrival at the port of Oakland on Friday morning of an Israeli ship from Asia as part of an effort to support the Palestinians in their conflict with Israel, according to organizers and port officials.
Protesters carried placards and waved Palestinian flags outside the port, blocking the flow of trucks from four sea terminals.
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“We will no longer sit and watch the Israeli government slaughter the Palestinians as it continues 73 years of colonization, dispossession and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people,” said Mohamed Shehk of the Arab Resource and Organization Center.
A number of truck drivers honked their horns in support of the rally, with participants calling for an economic boycott of Israel after the 11-day Israeli-Palestinian armed conflict.
ILWU Local 10 President Trent Willis said even though he and dozens of other longshoremen couldn’t work, he supported the protesters and said it was their right.
“We sent jobs today, as usual. We came here and there were protesters here, ”Willis said. “What has to happen is a discussion that solves the problems, not discussions that create more problems.”
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A spokesperson for the Port of Oakland sent a statement saying in part that it supports free speech: “Preventing trade, jeopardizing local jobs and jeopardizing the health future of the port will only hurt Oakland and to the region … Many harbor truck drivers are only paid if they pick up and drop off containers.
“We have declared victory for the morning,” said Wassim Hage, spokesperson for the protesters, around 9 am from the port of Oakland.
Hage is part of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, which defends the Palestinian movement in the Bay Area and sponsored the protest to prevent workers from unloading the ship.
He said the longshoremen honored the protesters’ picket line and did not unload the ship. The demonstrators were to return to the port at 4 p.m.
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