Occupy Oakland Shuts Down the Port (Video)

More than three thousand protesters shut down the Port of Oakland — the nation’s fifth largest container port– in the first general strike called in the city since 1946. Protesters blocked a major intersection and many businesses downtown closed for the day while some of those that remained open posted signs supporting the protesters and only accepting cash, to avoid sending credit card fees to banks and corporations. Protesters climbed atop trucks and shipping containers and blocked the Port of Oakland’s entrances.

While major labor unions spoke in support of the strike, they said their contracts did not allow them to proclaim an official strike. Some said they planned to take paid time off to join the protest. About 10 percent of the longshoremen (40 out of 325) did not show up for work, according to Craig Merrilees, a spokesman for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. About 200 workers showed up for the 7:00 pm shift, but were told to go home.

Some protesters surrounded trucks trying to leave the Port, while others stood nearby singing, “this land is made for you and me.” A few marchers climbed on top of shipping containers.

Union members in yellow vests were scattered throughout the crowd, directing traffic and trying to prevent confrontations among protesters and between protesters and truckers.

Truck driver Jose Umana of Rodeo was trying to leave the Port around 4 p.m. when protesters blocked his path.

But he wasn’t angry with the demonstrators.

Two women stood on the hood of his truck cab holding up a sign that says, “Disarm Cops. Arm Feminists,” as Umana honked his horn.

At 3:30 pm, Port officials had sent employees in its headquarters near Jack London Square home. At 5:00 pm, Omar Benjamin, the Port’s executive director, asked protesters to “let our 99 percent” go home, saying “We ask that the marchers allow our Port workers safe passage home.” The Port will resume operations “when it safe and secure to do so.” At 7:15 pm, about 200 protesters surrounded a longshoreman driving a truck who was trying to leave. While some yelled “Peaceful. Peaceful,” others began attacking the truck; after about ten minutes, the longshoreman was able to leave.

Below is footage of Angela Davis giving one of the opening speeches on the morning of November 2.

About 18 percent of Oakland’s public school teachers did not show up for work; the district was able to get substitutes for most classrooms or sent students to other classrooms for the day. Paying for the substitutes will cost the Oakland Unified School District about $60,000, according to spokesman Troy Flint.

Police officers were required to show up for work, while public employees of the city were allowed to take the day off. A week after Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen suffered a fractured skull and brain injury when police confronted protesters marching after their encampment had been removed, the police presence was described as minimal on Wednesday. While Olsen has been placed in a medically-induced coma, doctors say that he is expected to recover fully, according to a friend who served with him in Iraq.

On Wednesday, the windows of some banks in downtown Oakland were smashed as well as that of dry cleaner and of a Whole Foods store near Lake Merritt. Interim police chief Howard Jordan said that the vandalism was the work of “60 to 70 anarchists … bent on causing problems“; some protesters clashed with those seeking to damage property.

The city was not  entirely paralyzed. The mood was described as “jovial” and the events peaceful for the most part. Some who joined the protests came from the suburbs of Contra Costa County, including a mother with three young children from Danville and two high school students from Pleasanton, who were cutting school with their parents’ permission.


General Strike poster

Photo by allaboutgeorge


Previous Care2 Coverage

Protesters Target Downtown Oakland Bank Branches

Why I Got Tear Gassed at Occupy Oakland

Iraq Veteran Has Fractured Skull After Oakland Protest (video)



Photo by Brian Sims


Michael C.
Michael C6 years ago

Perhaps we need to take a page from our Arab brothers and sisters that for so long, held Tahrir Square in Cairo. With each passing day, they continued apply pressure to win the support of the Military and much of the police, to prove to them that they too were among the 99%. They won their struggle. Why can't we?

What comes next is likely to be quite unpleasant, few revolutions succeed without violence. The manner in which we continue the struggle is not by our choice, but the opposition knows only violence, they live and thrive on violence and the madness lies in the fact that they are the one 1%.

But wait, things are quite different here in the US, we have too much to lose. Our steel belted radials, on our beloved SUV's. our senseless shopping excursions to the Mall.

It appears the greatest control over the 99% is not just their rights, their freedoms but we have alloweed ourselves to become steeped in DEBT. After all, Debt is the opiate of the Masses and given the fact that America is the world's worst drug user, we are living proof of the fact.

This exactly is what the 1% has designed for your miserable little lives, your pay check to pay check existence, your lives are designed to support their needs, to heap upon them the riches of this planet, so they may squander the Earth as they wish.

They are the 1%...yet, you have the power...you are the 99%, you have a voice, silenced by time, but just for a moment, try to use it.

Your voice shall set you free

Patrick F.
Patrick f6 years ago

Joyce D. I just asked for how the process works, not a bunch of Obama bashing nonsense. Just the facts, ma'am.

Frances C.
Frances C6 years ago

And when there are thousands of people gathered and it lasts late into the night you will see the drunk or drugged trouble makers come in to disrupt. No one wants them there. Also, there are the Murdoch/Fox liar channel that support people to come in to make trouble so they can try and discredit the movement. Remember the 'pimp and whore' they sent to Acorn to entrap the workers, then they edited it and lied about what really happened.

They can try all their dirty tricks and trash the people protesting, but they will not win. They will not derail this movement, it is too important.

Frances C.
Frances C6 years ago

I have been to the 99% movement march and protest. They are always peaceful and filled with people of all ages, races, economic class, just a wide variety of people . People who are fed up with the gigantic wage and money gap between the rich and the rest of us. w

Nancy L.
Nancy L6 years ago

These groups causing this kind of disruption is so lame. They're not doing any good, and they're barking up the wrong tree. I think most participants just want to be able to say they took part in it. Who cares what troubles it causes others in their day ... Idiots.

Paul B.
Paul B6 years ago

Elizabeth and other, you say 70 or so is a small number of anarchists in a group to condemn the whole group, and I would inclined to agree, except that if the Tea Party has one or two people holding signs that the Left seems to think are bad, the whole gathering is condemned as racist or bigoted or whatever.

How does that double standard apply again??? Most do not condemn the movement, for the acts of a few, although the growing ranks of anarchists should be a concern to all, but the Left is all too quick to condemn the Tea Party for much less. When the head of steel workers union says that Oakland was not enough and that roads and bridges and more should be disrupted as well, is not a sign of controlling the movement on a path of peaceful protesting.

Consistency in the application of principles is a huge problem for the Left. "It's wrong for you to use the same measurement standards as we do, because we are always right," seems to be a standard mantra of the left. "We are right and you are wrong." Only an ends justifies the means person would hold that opinion, and most would agree that is the wrong ideal to uphold as standard practice.

Rob Keenan
Rob Keenan6 years ago

We have called for an end to the wars at Occupy protests,Mike C. Iraq Veterans Against The War and Veterans For Peace are part of Occupy.Scott Olson ,the Marine who was hit in the head by a tear gas canister on Oct 25 is a member of Iraq Veterans Against The War.

Rob Keenan
Rob Keenan6 years ago

@Holly L. "The organizers of Occupy need to be responsible for the actions of the protesters."

Keep in mind,Holly,that the General Strike itself was completely peaceful,that according to both Oakland's police chief and mayor.The violence took place after midnight,early yesterday morning.Most of the protesters remaining there did not become violent and the video shows them staying out of the way,letting the police handle the trouble makers.

At Occupy Seattle,where none of the protesters have become violent,there's a system where if some if someone does try instigating violence protesters will point out that person(s) police before it gets out of control.We members of Occupy don't want this to become a repeat of the 1999 WTO Convention riots that became known as "The Battle In Seattle." Seattle police appear to share that goal and so far the arrests that have taken place in Occupy Seattle have been due to non violent acts of civil disobedience.

joyce dean
J D6 years ago

@Patrick F. theoretically, the President consults & seeks approval before enacting changes that affect the republic's constitution & waging war. Obama, OTOH, has determined that he can do whatever, despite the constitution, in contradiction to & subversive of, the constitution, which he swore to uphold (O wait, did he really swear that oath? there seemed to be controversy surrounding even that) thus the US enters wars without congressional approval or consult - but like the citizens who elected these representatives, we all got schooled after the fact.

Maitreya L6 years ago

"The organizers of Occupy need to be responsible for the actions of the protesters"

The news said some of the peaceful protesters were trying to stop the "anarchists". The organizers can't really prevent some bad apples from coming to a protest and starting trouble. All they can do is denounce it, and say such behavior will not be tolerated. It's up to the police to stop vandals and rioters. I doubt this will slow down OWS, Fox News will surely try to make it look like all OWS protestors are anarchists, but people who watch Fox News are not likely sympathetic to OWS anyway.