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Protesters block unloading of Israeli cargo ship in Oakland

June 20, 2010 |  6:09 pm
Pro-Palestinian protesters on Sunday created a blockade of their own on Sunday by gathering at the Port of Oakland before dawn to block the unloading of an Israeli cargo ship.

Longshoreman working the day shift agreed not to cross the picket line of hundreds of protesters, who were demanding an end to Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. Protesters planned to stage another rally to halt the offloading for the evening shift. The protesters, organized by the San Francisco Bay Area ANSWER Coalition, was particularly incensed by the action of Israeli commandos to halt a flotilla of ships attempting to run the blockade May 31. Nine people were killed in the military action on the high seas.

The protesters convened about 5:30 a.m., Sunday, only a couple of days after Israel agreed to ease some of the restrictions on goods and relief supplies that can enter Gaza, a Palestinian enclave.

Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union refused to cross the picket line, citing safety concerns. The activists noted that longshoremen have “a long and great history of supporting progressive struggles here and around the world.”

Oakland police reported no arrests from the demonstration.

-- Ken Weiss