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Occupy movement takes to California's ports

by AirTalk®

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Protesters attempt to block an entrance to the Port of Oakland on December 12, 2011 in Oakland, California. After a general strike coordinated by Occupy Oakland shut down the port on November 2, this time hundreds are expected to affect all West Coast ports as Occupy movements in Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland, Portland, Seattle and Tacoma have so far joined the demonstration. Kimberly White/Getty Images

It's a day of action in Long Beach, Oakland, Portland and Seattle. Protesters in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement have coordinated blockades at the ports up and down California's coast. Long Beach had as many as 400 demonstrators march on the Port of Long Beach.

They targeted a dock facility leased by SSA Marine, a shipping company that is partially owned by Goldman Sachs, according to the Associated Press.
The buoyant crowd faced police who threatened to use physical force, tasers and dogs. The situation took a rapid turn when heavy rain poured down. Protesters dispersed. It's unclear whether they will continue.

At the Port of Oakland, an even bigger picket began before dawn. Several hundred people were blocking big rigs from reaching the docks. A spokesman for the port, Robert Bernardo said maritime operations have not been disrupted yet. Some workers at the ports are represented by the International Longshore & Warehouse Union.

Occupy organizers wanted union members on board but the ILWU said, "None of [the shutdowns are] sanctioned by the membership of the ILWU or informed by the local and International leadership."


The union's president, Robert McEllrath, has expressly supported the Occupy Wall Street movement apart from today's actions. Why the divide? What's the reasoning behind blockading west coast ports? Oakland mayor Jean Quan urged protesters to consider the impact on port workers. Is that short-sighted, or does she have a point?


Krissy Clark, Los Angeles Bureau Chief, KQED's The California Report

Caitlin Esch, Reporter, KQED

Kristian Foden-Vencil, Reporter Producer, KOPB, Public Radio in Portland

Bryan Buckalew, Reporter, KUOW, Public Radio in Seattle

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