OAKLAND – Dockworkers at the Port of Oakland honored a picket line this evening marking the second day in a row that an Israeli-owned commercial vessel was unable to unload cargo at the port, event organizers said.
For the second time this weekend, Bay Area protesters gathered at the Port of Oakland to stop a Zim Integrated Shipping Services vessel from
docking and unloading in an act of protest against recent Israeli military action in Gaza.
The ship, identified as Piraeus by the online ship tracking service Marine Traffic, was moored at the Port of Oakland area as of 5:30 p.m. this evening, according to the website.
The 964-foot ship rerouted Saturday afternoon as a large crowd of protesters marched to the Port of Oakland to block its arrival.
The ship spent a day off the coast of California before mooring at the port this evening.
At Saturday afternoon’s protest, demonstrators carried signs with slogans such as “Gaza will be free,” “Boycott.
Divest, Sanction. End Israeli Apartheid,” and “Resist Zionism and Imperialism.”
Zim is the largest Israeli cargo shipping company and according to Zim’s website, the company was established in 1945 and is one of the largest carriers in the global container shipping industry.
Protesters are singling out Zim ships because 32 percent of the company is owned by Israel Corporation, which was founded in 1968 by the
Israeli government and is Israel’s largest holding company.
Zim’s remaining shares are owned by financial institutions and ship-owners, according to the company’s website.
Mohamed Shehk, the media and communications director at the organization Critical Resistance, attended the protests Saturday and today at
the Port of Oakland.
Shehk, 26, a resident of Oakland, said tonight’s picket line was a success and that many people came out with short notice.
Protesters arrived at the Port of Oakland’s Berth 57 shortly after 5 p.m. and formed a picket line as dockworkers began showing up for their
evening shifts, Shehk said.
He said a police presence of several dozen officers monitored the picket line outside the port.
He said that as activists learned the boat was coming into the San Francisco Bay, they took to social media and that a couple hundred protesters showed up tonight to support the picket line.
“As a Palestinian, I have always been a strong supporter for the Palestinian cause for liberation,” Shehk said, adding that he also supports
various movements of liberation around the world.
Shehk said the purpose of the picket today and Saturday was to send a message to Israel that “we will not stand for the murdering of Gazans”
nor the ongoing occupation of Palestine.
According to Reem Assil, a member of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, dockworkers are honoring the picket line tonight and will
not be unloading the ship.
She called this weekend’s protests and picket lines “a victory.”
According to Shehk, the delay that protesters and picketers caused by blocking the Zim ship is “enormous financially” and that the longer the
cargo ships are not unloaded, the more money the Israeli-owned company loses.
Shehk and Assil said a Zim ship arrives weekly at the Port of Oakland and both expressed hope that protests would continue until the company no longer schedules stops at the port.
Protesters are planning additional demonstrations and picket lines later in the week against the unloading of Zim ships in Tacoma and Seattle,
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