Monday, June 21, 2010

Hundreds in Oakland protest Gaza blockade

Marshall Schwartz of Oakland waves an Israeli flag across... John Sebastian Russo / The Chronicle
Marshall Schwartz of Oakland waves an Israeli flag across the road from pro-Palestinian supporters protesting the Israeli Zim Shipping Line at the Port of Oakland on Sunday.

Hundreds of demonstrators, condemning Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, picketed at the Port of Oakland on Sunday and may have prevented an Israeli cargo ship from unloading for the day.

Two shifts of longshoremen agreed not to cross the picket line, leaving nobody to unload the vessel.

"Our objective was to boycott this ship for 24 hours, and we succeeded in doing that," said Richard Becker, with the ANSWER Coalition, one of the groups that organized the protest.

The demonstrators first gathered before dawn at Berth 58, where a ship from Israel's Zim shipping line was scheduled to dock Sunday, first in the morning then in the afternoon, protesters said. It eventually arrived around 6 p.m., Becker said, but by that time the dockworkers had agreed not to show up to unload the vessel.


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