Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Oakland Cops Attack Longshoremen and Peace Protesters

Oakland Police tossed concussion grenades and shot wooden bullets at anti-war protesters and union members, injuring several, on the Oakland docks.

Around 500 anti-war activists had set up a peaceful picket shouting “Union Yes! War No!” at American Presidential Lines because it ships military cargo and Stevedoring Services of America docks because it stands to profit from the war through a contract to run the docks in Um Quasr (sp??) after the war in Iraq.

Representatives of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union determined that they would not cross the picket line because the police presence presented a threat to their members’ health and safety, thereby shutting down the morning shift on the docks.

The decision proved correct as minutes later, cops charged motorcycles into peaceful picketers and union members, threw concussion grenades at them and then opened fire with high velocity wooden blocks.

Sue Sandlin, former co-chair of the Port Workers Solidarity Committee, described the action to Socialist Worker.

“The police came down the street towards us in a military formation. Protesters actually had decided to take down the picket because our plan was to have a peaceful protest on public property. We were trying to figure out how to disperse because the cops had blocked the entrance that most of us had used to get to the gates of the docks. We began walking away from the police lines, trying to get to the sides of the road. Then police opened fire. People were being shot in the back as they tried to get away. Me and my friend dove into a ditch and she was hit by a rubber bullet. There were people dropping after being hit and there were explosions all around from the police percussion grenades. I was afraid people were being killed. The police were firing indiscriminately at protesters who were fleeing as well as workers who were stopped in their cars in the middle of the street. It was one of the most terrifying experiences I’ve ever had. After the initial shock wore off, everyone wase appalled by the police and concerned for the people who’d been wounded. So we tended to the people who had fallen and then we regrouped in an effort to get out as safely as possible in order to regroup later.”

Trent Willis, a business agent for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, told the Associated Press, “They shot my guys. We’re not going to work today. The cops had no reason to open up on them.”

Police arrested 24 protesters, including ILWU Local 10 Business Agent Jack Heyman.

As Heyman was dragged away in handcuffs, wearing his ILWU jacket, he shouted, “I’m a union official. I have the right to represent my members!”

International Socialist Organization member Regina, told Socialist Worker, “After the cops charged us, I dove into a ditch and that’s when they shot me in the elbow. Some fucking democracya*| we can’t even have a peaceful picket!”

Steve Stallone, spokesman for the ILWU who was present at the protest told Socialist Worker, “Clearly this was an inappropriate use of force. They police shot the union workers they were supposedly there to protect. If they’d wanted to keep people away from the docks, they could have just put up a barricade a half mile away. They never needed to shot at what was clearly a non-violent action.”

In fact, police response was no spontaneous over reaction.

For at least 15 minutes, police formed lines, calmly aimed at fleeing protesters and fired.

They came prepared to use a massive level of violence in order to intimidate the union and the anti-war movement from ever trying to take action on the docks.

The Oakland Police Department has a reputation for violence and, in fact, just paid out eleven million dollars in civil settlement involving framing and beating innocent Oaklanders by a group of cops called the “Riders.”

The labor movement should show its solidarity with its own members of the ILWU and for the right of the anti-war movement to conduct peaceful protests by denouncing this unprovoked police brutality in clear terms.

Todd Chretien writes for the Socialist Worker. He can be reached at: ChretienTodd@aol.com

Today’s Features

William S. Lind
The Pitfalls of War Planning

Jorge Mariscal
Latinos on the Frontlines, Again

Paul de Rooij
Arrogant Propaganda

Jo Wilding
From Baghdad: “I Am His Mother”

Tarif Abboushi
Operation Embedded Folly

Lee Sustar
Labor’s War at Home

Akiva Eldar
Israeli Dreams of Iraqi Oil

Bernard Weiner
The Vietnam Connection

Robert Fisk
The Graveyard at Baghdad’s North Gate

Steve Perry
War Web Log 04/01

Keep CounterPunch Alive:
Make a Tax-Deductible Donation Today Online!

home / subscribe / about us / books / archives / search / links /

More articles by:

TODD CHRETIEN writes for the Socialist Work.

May 24, 2018
Gary Leupp
Art of the Dealbreaker: Trump’s Cancellation of the Summit with Kim
Jeff Warner – Victor Rothman
Why the Emerging Apartheid State in Israel-Palestine is Not Sustainable
Kenn Orphan
Life, the Sea and Big Oil
James Luchte
Europe Stares Into the Abyss, Confronting the American Occupant in the Room
Richard Hardigan
Palestinians’ Great March of Return: What You Need to Know
Howard Lisnoff
So Far: Fascism Lite
Matthew Vernon Whalan
Norman Finkelstein on Bernie Sanders, Gaza, and the Mainstream Treatment
Daniel Warner
J’accuse All Baby Boomers
Alfred W. McCoy
Beyond Golden Shower Diplomacy
Jonah Raskin
Rachel Kushner, Foe of Prisons, and Her New Novel, “The Mars Room”
George Wuerthner
Myths About Wildfires, Logging and Forests
Binoy Kampmark
Tom Wolfe the Parajournalist
Dean Baker
The Marx Ratio: Not Clear Karl Would be Happy
May 23, 2018
Nick Pemberton
Maduro’s Win: A Bright Spot in Dark Times
Ben Debney
A Faustian Bargain with the Climate Crisis
Deepak Tripathi
A Bloody Hot Summer in Gaza: Parallels With Sharpeville, Soweto and Jallianwala Bagh
Josh White
Strange Recollections of Old Labour
Farhang Jahanpour
Pompeo’s Outrageous Speech on Iran
CJ Hopkins
The Simulation of Democracy
Lawrence Davidson
In Our Age of State Crimes
Dave Lindorff
The Trump White House is a Chaotic Clown Car Filled with Bozos Who Think They’re Brilliant
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Domination of West Virginia
Ty Salandy
The British Royal Wedding, Empire and Colonialism
Laura Flanders
Life or Death to the FCC?
Gary Leupp
Dawn of an Era of Mutual Indignation?
Katalina Khoury
The Notion of Patriarchal White Supremacy Vs. Womanhood
Nicole Rosmarino
The Grassroots Environmental Activist of the Year: Christine Canaly
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
“Michael Inside:” The Prison System in Ireland 
May 22, 2018
Stanley L. Cohen
Broken Dreams and Lost Lives: Israel, Gaza and the Hamas Card
Kathy Kelly
Scourging Yemen
Andrew Levine
November’s “Revolution” Will Not Be Televised
Ted Rall
#MeToo is a Cultural Workaround to a Legal Failure
Gary Leupp
Question for Discussion: Is Russia an Adversary Nation?
Binoy Kampmark
Unsettling the Summits: John Bolton’s Libya Solution
Doug Johnson
As Andrea Horwath Surges, Undecided Voters Threaten to Upend Doug Ford’s Hopes in Canada’s Most Populated Province
Kenneth Surin
Malaysia’s Surprising Election Results
Dana Cook
Canada’s ‘Superwoman’: Margot Kidder
Dean Baker
The Trade Deficit With China: Up Sharply, for Those Who Care
John Feffer
Playing Trump for Peace How the Korean Peninsula Could Become a Bright Spot in a World Gone Mad
Peter Gelderloos
Decades in Prison for Protesting Trump?
Thomas Knapp
Yes, Virginia, There is a Deep State
Andrew Stewart
What the Providence Teachers’ Union Needs for a Win
Jimmy Centeno
Mexico’s First Presidential Debate: All against One
May 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Gina Haspell: She’s Certainly Qualified for the Job
Uri Avnery
The Day of Shame
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail