Saturday, January 13, 2024
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Thousands shut down Port of Oakland, demand ceasefire and an end to U.S. support of genocide in Gaza
Organizers declare initial victory in halting all port operations
For visuals of the action, click here.
Oakland, CA – Starting at 5 a.m. this morning, over 2500 community members disrupted the majority of Port of Oakland operations today to demand an end to U.S. economic and military support of Israel’s genocidal bombing campaign in Gaza. This port shutdown comes as the death toll of Palestinians in Gaza has reached over 30,000, including over 9,000 children, and genocide proceedings against Israel are taking place at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the UN’s highest court.
Along with the massive turnout of community members showing up to protest the ongoing war on Gaza, the Oakland Port Authority also called off business that was scheduled at the docks for the morning shift in anticipation of community turnout, effectively shutting down the port. Organizers have declared an initial victory and are vowing to return to the port at 2 p.m. to shut down any business as usual for the afternoon shift.
“The Oakland port has facilitated the transport of weapons, military equipment, and technology that fuel the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians. As long as the U.S. enables this war with our tax dollars and through our port, there can be no business as usual,” says Lara Kiswani, Executive Director of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center. ”Every day, around $12 million in revenue is generated at the Port of Oakland. This is nearly the same amount of money that the U.S. sends to Israel per day in economic and military aid. Today we are shutting it down to make it clear that we will not sit by as the U.S. government is complicit in genocide.”
In early November, hundreds of protestors disrupted the loading and departure of a military vessel used to supply Israel with military equipment and technology. The vessel has returned and is currently docked, though its future deployment plans are unclear.
“The U.S. can end the war on Gaza tomorrow by demanding a permanent ceasefire. Instead, Biden is making the massacre of Palestinians possible by sending billions of dollars of U.S. military aid to Israel, as the only thing this country cares about is profit with no regard to human life,” said Cat Brooks, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Anti Police-Terror Project. “By shutting down one of the busiest ports in North America, we are hitting them where it hurts, and will do so until a ceasefire is implemented, until the U.S. stops funding the apartheid state of Israel, and until Palestine is free.”
The Israeli war on Gaza is funded and supplied in large part by the U.S. government. In November of last year, Bay Area community members turned out to block a U.S. military vessel, the Cape Orlando, which departed to supply Israel with weapons and military equipment for use in Gaza. The vessel was then met with protests in Tacoma, Washington, where weapons were loaded on the ship. The ship is scheduled to return back to the Port of Oakland, and community members are demanding that Oakland stop aiding in the transport of war machinery and the U.S. stop its military support for Israel’s war on Gaza
The Port of Oakland is a frequent site of protests that target war profiteers, and actions at the port, taken by workers and Bay Area communities alike, have a long connection to social justice struggles.
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