200 Occupy protesters threatened with arrest at Port of Long Beach
About 200 Occupy protesters squared off with police at the Port of Long Beach early Monday morning, and at least one person was arrested.
The protest, one of several planned at ports up and down the West Coast on Monday, was organized by Occupy groups in Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Its target is SSA Marine, a shipping company that is partially owned by investment bank Goldman Sachs that protesters say has a history of unfair labor practices and objectionable environmental policies.
The protesters gathered at Harry Bridges Memorial Park in Long Beach at 5 a.m. and then marched to the company's shipping terminal with the intention of blocking workers from entering.
The protest was not sanctioned by the dockworkers union.
Protesters, who included Teamsters, members of the Industrial Workers of the World and a few anarchists waving black flags, were met by a line of police from the city of Long Beach and the Port of Long Beach, who threatened arrest if the protesters did not move back.
"Attention, if you don't move back now, you will be pushed back," an officer said on a loudspeaker as protesters shouted at officers wearing riot gear helmets and clutching batons.
Instead of moving, the protesters marched in a circle in the roadway. Inside the circle, a band of percussionists beat drums while some people danced, others sat down and meditated and a television reporter broadcast live.
Some of the organizers urged protesters to retreat to a designated protest area.
"We've already blocked 200 trucks from coming in," said organizer Michael Novick. "We decided this would be a legal protest."
But as the sun rose over the docks, few protesters seemed ready to join him.
-- Kate Linthicum
Photo: John Kenney, right, joins protesters blocking Harbor Scenic Drive in Long Beach. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times