Protesters block military ship from leaving for Israel, calls for ceasefire

VEISHNAWI NEHRU
VEISHNAWI NEHRU
04 Nov 2023 06:01pm
Activists block ship carrying US weapons to Israel at Oakland Port - AJPlus (Instagram)
Activists block ship carrying US weapons to Israel at Oakland Port - AJPlus (Instagram)
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SHAH ALAM - Protesters demanding a cease-fire in the inhumane crimes that have plagued Gaza blocked a US military supply ship leaving the Port of Oakland for hours Friday by locking themselves to the vessel.

The protesters also blocked the entrance to Berth 20 where the container carrier Cape Orlando is bound for Israel after being loaded with weapons and military equipment in Tacoma, Washington.

Dena Takruri, an AJPlus journalist, reported that protestors clung to the ship for almost five hours, driven by a desire to prevent its departure. Acting on early morning intelligence about the ship's cargo and destination, the protestors rapidly gathered at the port in a bid to intercept it.

One protestor highlighted their opposition to "US imperialism," holding it responsible for the loss of countless lives worldwide.

The protestors saw themselves as obliged to take a definitive stand against such actions.

“US imperialism has killed countless millions of people around the world for decades now.

“We have a responsibility as people in the imperial core to make a clear stand against it,” they said.

In a poignant reflection, another protestor drew comparisons between the present situation and the atrocities of past concentration camps. "They encouraged others to ponder their potential actions in 1945, implying that the protestors' current actions were aligned with what they would have hoped to do back then.

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“My family was killed in the concentration camps. The same thing is happening right now.

“We ask ourselves what would we have done if we were in 1945 and we want to all imagine if we would have done something what you are doing right now is what you would have done,” she said.

Their resolve remained strong, even as more activists were restrained by police on the opposite side of the fence, all promising not to give up.

Adding his voice, protestor Wael Buhaissy stressed the need for global awareness, accusing Oakland Port of facilitating the shipment of weapons that exacerbate the suffering of Palestinian families.

“I have been here since 6am and we are here to let the world know that Oakland Port is shipping weapons to the state of Israel to continue to murder our families in Palestine,” he said.

Anna Baltzer, a Jewish protestor and granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, shared her distress over witnessing the misuse of Jewish history, which she claimed was being exploited to justify genocide against the Palestinian people.

“I’m here as a Jewish person, the granddaughter of the Holocaust survivors watching the weaponisation of the Jewish history, my history to be used to carry out a genocide against the Palestinian people.

“I’m here as a US citizen, watching my government send billions of dollars in military aid to Israel to be used to carry out this genocide,” she said.

Jim Haber, another activist, highlighted the urgency to cease what he termed "war crimes."

He shared concerns about the significant war crimes he believes are perpetrated by Israel and the United States, committing to future protests.

“Every pause is helpful and war crimes got to stop and the biggest war crimes are being committed by Israel and the United States right now,” he said.

The activists were motivated by information suggesting that the ship would be loaded with military equipment and weapons at various stops en route to Israel.

This protest tactic is not new to Oakland Port, having previously seen successful disruptions of Israeli cargo ships in 2014 and 2021.

The MV Cape Orlando, the focal point of this protest, is a vessel of the US Ready Reserve Fleet with a history linked to conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After nearly nine hours, the ship ultimately set sail.

Nevertheless, the determined protestors vowed, "See you at the next stop, we'll be back."

The incident culminated with the arrest of the three protestors who had clung to the ship.

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