A demonstration of some 200 protesters calling for a ceasefire in Gaza is attempting to block a ship at the Port of Oakland that they say is carrying military supplies to Israel, though longshoremen say there’s nothing on the ship.
The October 7 Hamas attack on Israel killed 1,400 people and took some 200 others hostage, and since then, the bloodshed has only escalated with Israeli forces killing an estimated 9,000 people in Gaza since. The Bay Area has seen a number of protests, the latest of which was a Friday morning attempt to block a ship at the Port of Oakland, a ship that KTVU reports the pro-Palestine demonstrators say is carrying “weapons and military equipment” to Israel. According to the Chronicle, at least three protesters managed to board the ship.
The protest got started before the sun came up Friday morning at Berth 20, near the intersection of Maritime Street and 17th Street. By 11 a.m., the crowd of protesters was estimated at about 200 people. A Friday morning release from the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) says that “several protestors have locked themselves to the ship,” though this has not been confirmed in reports. But we do see in the video below a few demonstrators at least managed to board a ladder onto the ship.
They’re calling for a ceasefire in the conflict, while chanting “Free Palestine, from the River to the sea, Palestine will be free,” and “Hey, hey, ho ho, the occupation has got to go."
The ship itself is called the Cape Orlando, and it is indeed part of the US Department of Transportation’s National Defense Reserve Fleet. It was used to carry supplies in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. While protest organizers say the ship is headed to Israel after a stop in Tacoma, Washington, none of this has been confirmed.
PLEASE RETWEET I am here at the Port of Oakland with Bay Area community members protesting the delivery of weapons to Israel. At least one ship worker has walked off. We need media attention!!@MSNBC @CNN @AJEnglish pic.twitter.com/pUQXWbJSkh— Becca Lewis (@beccalew) November 3, 2023
But the Chronicle spoke to some union workers and contractors around the ship, who say there’s nothing onboard. International Longshore and Warehouse Union president Melvin Mackay told the Chronicle that the ship sees very little use, and says of the vessel, “This has been dead for 17 years.”
Of course, both could be true. The ship could possibly be empty now and rarely used, but could load supplies at another port like Tacoma.
The protests are currently ongoing. There are no confirmed reports of arrests yet, though AROC said in a 10:30 a.m. statement Friday that “arrests are happening now.”
This is a developing story and may be updated.
Image: @C_Resistance via Twitter