Occupy protesters shut down Oakland port

Dec. 13, 2011 at 9:06 AM
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OAKLAND, Calif., Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Protesters in the Occupy movement in Oakland, Calif., halted operations at the Port of Oakland for the second time in two months, officials said.

In Baltimore, police in riot gear evicted the Occupy Baltimore encampment at McKeldin Square in the city's Inner Harbor early Tuesday, The Baltimore Sun reported. While declining comment, police said there were no arrests.

In Oakland, companies operating the 26 berths at the container port told longshoremen not to report for the 7 p.m. evening shift Monday, turning a planned Occupy Oakland demonstration into a celebration, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Witnesses said about 3,000 marchers gathered in the dark, dancing to music while some clambered atop idled trucks.

"We are ecstatic with the results," said Milo Avery, 22, of Oakland. "This day is the culmination of a lot of hard work. It's a historic and momentous step in this movement."

Occupy Oakland also closed the port in early November.

Oakland officials said the actions did more harm to residents than corporations.

"They're saying, 'Oh, we want to get the attention of the ruling class.' Well, I think the ruling class is probably laughing," Oakland Mayor Jean Quan told a news conference.

Quan stressed the blockade didn't have the support of any union doing business on the waterfront.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and other labor groups opposed the protest, saying it would hurt their members along the West Coast.

Two terminals were shut down at the Port of Portland, Ore., Monday, and the Washington state port of Longview closed when about 100 protesters rallied. Media also reported standoffs at ports such as Long Beach and San Diego but terminals remained open.

In Seattle, protests Monday evening resulted in several arrests and clashes between police and demonstrators, the Chronicle reported. Police used pepper spray and percussion grenades against several hundred protesters, some of whom reportedly threw reinforcing bars and flares at officers.

In Baltimore, the eviction ended the 10-week protest, the Sun said.

"The city of Baltimore is committed to protecting individuals' right to protest," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a statement. "However, our public parks and green-spaces should not be treated as permanent campgrounds and camping is prohibited. Individuals are free to peaceably assemble and demonstrate within the currently established guidelines."

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