Occupy Oakland Shuts Down Port
Update (4:15 p.m.): Port officials sent some workers home at 3:30 p.m., preparing for what is expected be a massive march to the Port of Oakland later this evening. Officials sent out a statement just now, saying it is "to ensure their safety and the flow of traffic in case there are any public actions impacting the immediate area." The peaceful protest seemed to escalate slightly in the Lake Merritt area, where demonstrators vandalized a Whole Foods, bashing in one of the windows, and spray-painting the word "strike" across the front of the building. The store locked its doors with customers still inside after the window was smashed. People milled around outside, contemplating where else to get groceries nearby. One protester spit on your correspondent's car as I drove through the chaos, snapping photos. We'll keep you posted on tonight's march.
Update (11:36 a.m.): Port of Oakland officials say the port is open today, but that things can change any minute. According to a statement released now: "At the seaport, marine terminals are generally operating, although the situation is fluid. Each of our the Port's terminals operates independently, and Port staff are in close touch with terminal operators, shipping companies, and other tenants. We will be providing periodic updates throughout the day."
Original Story (10 a.m.): Protesters are gathered in downtown Oakland where leaders just announced that the Port of Oakland longshoremen have joined Wednesday's general strike in solidarity with Occupy Oakland.
SF Weekly contacted Port of Oakland officials to confirm, but we have not heard back yet. However, a spokesman for the longshoremen union is telling reporters that although some port workers did not show up today, the union is not encouraging a strike, and it's business as usual at the Port of Oakland this morning.
Meanwhile, not one police officer could be spotted in downtown, where hundreds of Occupy Oakland protesters clustered at Broadway and 14th streets for the start of a daylong strike.
Demonstrators are planning to meet again at noon and protest outside banks and other corporations, attempting to shut them down for the day. At 5 p.m. the group will march to the Port of Oakland.
Check back for updates.
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