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Hundreds Protest Gaza War At Oakland Port

A large crowd of protesters who denounced Israel’s military actions in Gaza were trying to shut down the Port of Oakland on Saturday morning.

Hundreds of people blocked the entrance to the port, which they say is used to ship military equipment to Israel. The crowd gathered before dawn, trying to prevent port workers from getting to their jobs.

“We need to stop U.S. aid to Israel,” said Lara Kiswani, executive director of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center.

“We absolutely will not allow our own port to be complicit in this genocide by allowing the transport of arms and military equipment to Israel.”

Protesters expect a ship carrying military technology to arrive at the port after delivering resources to Israel. A similar protest was held at the Oakland port in November.

Organizers had hoped the demonstration would last all day, but as heavier rain fell, the crowd thinned out. Those protesting say they got word that the port had shut down operations for the morning, so people were sent home.

A spokesperson for the Port of Oakland told KTVU operations were disrupted, but did continue Saturday.

Reports of protests were noted Saturday afternoon shortly before 4 p.m. with dozens blocking a roadway in Oakland.

“Any disruption to our maritime operations affects everyone,” said Robert Bernardo, Port of Oakland’s director of communications.

“Operational impacts by demonstrators to the Oakland Seaport would prevent the timely flow of international commerce including medical supplies, food products, auto, manufacturing and technology parts to name a few. Also, nearly 100,000 local jobs depend upon Port operations including the livelihoods of truck operators, dockworkers and warehouse workers and their families.”

Tyler Gregory with the Jewish Community Relations Council, provided this statement to KTVU:

“The attempted shutdown of the Port of Oakland is the latest example of protesters stoking tensions and threatening the existence of the state of Israel. These demonstrations do nothing to bring the Middle East closer to peace, but they do make Jewish communities feel less safe.”

Organizers of the “Port Shutdown for Palestine” event said that more action could happen Saturday afternoon.

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