Members of the ILWU dock workers’ union in Oakland, California on Wednesday afternoon unloaded the ZIM ship that anti-Israel picketers blocked last week.
Angry protesters were helpless to stop the work; the ship had left port earlier this week and sailed towards the direction of Los Angeles but then made a U-turn and returned to the same harbor.
Longshoremen were pulled off task from other ships in the middle of the night to unload the ZIM vessel.
Police kept the anti-Israel protesters at bay. Twitter posts tweeted, “Lots of shoving, surprised no arrests yet…ILWU longshoremen are already past your ‘picket line’ and unloading ZIM now you dufus…Haha the anti-Zionist trolls are coming out but it’s too late. Ship’s unloading. Port of Oakland really put one over on them.”
On the #BlockTheBoat Twitter thread, one poster wrote,” Cops blocking public sidewalk, shoving us violently. No way for protesters to leave from where we came. Won’t explain legal basis for blocking public sidewalk…One cop shoved me into back of a second cop, but a third cop was nice enough to shove me in a whole new direction…
“Very tense. We had a great working relationship w/ cops until they impeded our ability to picket. Now we are ‘pissed.’”
Pro-Gaza protesters led by Palestinian Arab groups had successfully blockaded the Piraeus, a ZIM Integrated Shipping Services vessel, at the Oakland port in a protest against Israel’s counter terror operation in Gaza.
Several hundred Oakland protesters gathered again in a picket line Sunday after the ZIM vessel docked, approximately 24 hours after it was forced to circle in the Pacific Ocean to avoid a mob of thousands at the same port the previous day.
The container ship left the Port of Oakland Tuesday afternoon before returning to a different part of the harbor.
“The ZIM Integrated Shipping Lines vessel Piraeus left the port and got underway headed for Los Angeles, according to a real time marine traffic tracking web site,” Inside BayArea.com reported.
It added that after sailing nearly 20 miles, it turned back towards the port in Oakland and then sailed again past the eastern shore of San Francisco before returning to port.
Picketers had successfully stopped the longshoremen’s union members from unloading the boat and showed Israeli social activist and ‘Yesh Atid’ party chairman Yair Lapid at dawn on Tuesday how to set up a picket line.
“We will not work under armed police escort –not with our experience with the police in this community,” said ILWU Local 10 President Melvin MacKay in a statement. McKay was referring to a 2003 anti-war demonstration in which Oakland police fired rubber bullets at demonstrators and injured several longshoremen.
Mohamed Shehk, a spokesman for the Block the Boat movement, had expressed confidence that the picket would force ZIM to conclude the company could forget about unloading ships in Oakland or anywhere else on the West Coast.
He was wrong.