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13 Dec, 2011 07:24

Port hold: Occupy disrupt US shipping

Massive “Occupy” protests have again erupted across America, paralyzing its West Coast. From the blocked port of Oakland to the shipping hub of Seattle, thousands of disenchanted activists have taken to the streets in defiance of a police crackdown.

Seattle police have reportedly used flash bang percussion grenades to disperse the protesters who blocked the entrance to the Port of Seattle facilities. Police said multiple people had been arrested, but did not specify exact figures.Occupy Seattle protesters were seen holding banners reading “Made in China”, clearly highlighting the problem of American jobs being outsourced to China. Those protests appear to be a part of the nationwide effort to block West Coast port traffic, when thousands took on ports from California to Alaska to disrupt, they claim, the economic machine that benefits the wealthiest individuals and corporations. Protesters say they are targeting corporate greed and the government’s complicity and by maintaining their activity, they are keeping the message of the Occupy movement alive.According to protesters, among other things they are targeting profits of Goldman Sachs, which owns half of one of the world’s largest transportation and shipping outfits. Therefore, for the movement this is the way of “getting back at” one of the major banks which had contributed to the financial crisis.In New York City, protesters took their message to Goldman Sachs directly. They marched in solidarity with their fellow campaigners from the West Coast to the bank’s Low Manhattan’s headquarters. Almost two dozen of them were arrested.In Houston, Texas, some 20 people got arrested in similar solidarity protests.While US authorities seem to be quite successful in cracking down on peaceful protesters, with more than 5,000 having been arrested in the course of the past three months, none of those arrests even make it to the headlines in major US media anymore.Occupy protesters marched on Monday morning on ports in San Diego, Oakland and Los Angeles in California, Portland in Oregon, Seattle and Tacoma in Washington, as well as Anchorage in Alaska, eventually succeeding in disrupting the work of these major ports on the West Coast. The port of Oakland, for example, was almost completely shut down, while in Portland and LA they effectively blocked trucks from approaching the ports.Occupy activist Kristin Snelling of the West Occupy coordinating committee says that the movement is getting a lot of support from the unions and the workers.“Today we decided to shut down four terminals, one of which is the SSA terminal, which is owned by Goldman Sachs,” she told RT. “We do have overwhelming support from the rank-and-file workers. Their official non-support is not necessarily indicative of non-support from rank-and-file workers. Rank-and-file workers were not given a chance to vote on whether or not they supported the action. Individual, local ILWU union branches have voted to support this. In Portland, they voted to support it, and here in Oakland the local [branch], they voted…to have their workers not cross the picket lines.”