Protest blocks Israeli cargo ship at Oakland port in support of Palestinians amid violence in Gaza
“It is incumbent on all of us, as taxpayers, to demand more and to stop US aid to Israel as long as the violence continues,” said organizer Lara Kiswani, executive director of Arab Resource and Organizing Center.
The ship is an Israeli cargo ship operated by ZIM carrying a mixture of goods from Asia.
The group protested against the shipping company the last time it sent a ship to Oakland in 2014. The protest lasted three months. The company has not returned since.
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“So, to our surprise, he was planning to come back. So we called for the mobilization and that’s why we’re here today,” Kiswani said.
Standing next to the protest was a group of longshoremen who cannot work and unload the ship because of the protest.
“For our health and safety, we are not going to cross the picket line. Our job is not to come here and fight the protesters, our job is not to go inside or protest with them. them, our job is to move trade, ”he added. said John Hughes, the business agent for Local 10, the union representing the longshoreman.
Union leaders say they will call the terminal operator to find a way to make these workers pay.
“We’re not going to allow our members to be punished for something they didn’t do,” Hughes said.
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We asked the workers and the protesters how long they could stand this.
“With the fragile economy, people are coming out of COVID… I don’t know. I don’t know,” Hughes said.
“Today we say we’re here for the day. We take it post by post,” Kiswani said.
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We asked the Oakland Police Department if the officers were planning to force the protesters away and received this response:
“The Oakland Police Department is helping to create safe places and safe spaces for people at the port. If you have any further questions, please contact the Port of Oakland.”
The Port of Oakland issued this statement:
“The Port of Oakland fully supports the rights to free speech and a safe and legal assembly. At the same time, federal policy states that international trade cannot be stopped. This means that groups can protest, but they cannot disrupt trade. The port has been engaged with our public safety partners to maintain safety and security while ensuring the timely flow of trade to the Oakland Seaport.
Preventing trade, jeopardizing local jobs and jeopardizing the port’s healthy future will only hurt Oakland and the region. The port contributes to 84,000 jobs in our region. Most of these jobs are located in the city of Oakland. Many harbor truck drivers are only paid if they pick up and drop off containers. If they can’t get in and out, they won’t be paid. This will impact their livelihoods and families. Oakland handles about 15 percent of the tonnage of ports on the west coast of the United States. Southern California ports handle about 65 percent. These shipping disruptions will only divert more goods, more business, and send more jobs to Southern California. “
The Zim shipping company did not respond to calls for comment.
As to why the company has sent a ship here now after seven years, the port says online shopping is on the rise so much it’s creating congestion in the port of LA. This ship was sent here to try to reduce the traffic jams in the south.
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