Bay area activists block warship for nine hours in Port of Oakland

Protesters blockade Israeli ship, Oakland, California, Nov. 3, 2023.

Port of Oakland, California

The emergency text went out early Friday morning [Nov. 3]. A ship had pulled into the Port of Oakland bound for apartheid Israel. Within an hour, hundreds of demonstrators converged in front of the ship chanting, “Free Free Palestine!” Several demonstrators were able to actually board the side of the ship and conduct a sit-in.

The police eventually stepped up their security and stopped hundreds of protesters from entering the area near the ship. However, a large group armed with several banners had already secured the gates leading to the ship, thereby preventing anyone from leaving or entering the ship.

Demonstrators kept up the loud chanting and drum beating all day until the ship eventually left. It was bound for Tacoma, [Washington], where weapons were to be loaded onto it. The Tacoma progressive community has promised to meet the ship and block it also. 

The Bay Area has a long working-class history of stopping ships bound to Israel. In 2014, a massive protest organized by a broad coalition of groups, coordinated by the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, turned away the Israeli-owned Zim ship. That ship has never returned to the Port of Oakland. In the 1980s, anti-apartheid protests, [with strong participation from International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10], prevented the loading of ships with weapons going to apartheid South Africa. 

Three protesters aboard the warship were arrested at the end of the day, and the ship unmoored and headed out of the Bay. The Bay area once again showed its militant support for the liberation of Palestine and its opposition to U.S. support of Israel’s genocidal war in Gaza.


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