December 12: Occupy Protesters Target Ports – a Special Report

Protests targeting West Coast ports on Monday stopped work shifts and shipments for hours with major disruptions at the ports of Long Beach and Oakland.

Hundreds of people gathered at ports in the early morning hours from San Diego all the way up to Vancouver, Canada. Protesters targeted in particular, terminals owned by a company named SSA Marine because it is co-owned by the Wall Street firm Goldman Sachs, and grain exporter EGT for anti-union activity.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, thousands of whose workers are employed by SSA Marine, did not sanction the action but respected the Occupiers’ picket lines. While some workers complained to press about a day’s worth of lost wages, an open letter by four port truckers decrying their working conditions, and in support of the spirit of the port shutdown, has received broad attention. In it, they say “we believe in the power and potential behind a truly united 99%. We admire the strength and perseverance of the longshoremen. We are fighting like mad to overcome our exploitation, so please, stick by us long after December 12.”

Protestors significantly disrupted business at the Longview, Washington port, where companies sent workers home citing health and safety concerns. In Seattle, Washington hundreds of protestors shut down at least one port terminal and police turned out with flash bang percussion grenades to disperse the demonstrators. Here in Southern California, the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles saw hundreds of Occupy activists gather near Harry Bridges park and block shift changes for several hours. Police then pushed protesters out of the area, and arrested a small number of people. The longest port occupation appears to be Oakland’s, where protestors disrupted traffic into the port until 4am December 13.

Uprising correspondent Lydia Breen was at the Occupy the Ports action at the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles yesterday and filed this special report.

Lydia Breen is with The Trailer Trash Project online at http://www.trailertrashproject.com.

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