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.

January 16, 2019
Patrick Bond
Jim Yong Kim’s Mixed Messages to the World Bank and the World
John Grant
Joe Biden, Crime Fighter from Hell
Alvaro Huerta
Brief History Notes on Mexican Immigration to the U.S.
Kenneth Surin
A Great Speaker of the UK’s House of Commons
Elizabeth Henderson
Why Sustainable Agriculture Should Support a Green New Deal
Binoy Kampmark
Trump, Bolton and the Syrian Confusion
Jeff Mackler
Trump’s Syria Exit Tweet Provokes Washington Panic
Barbara Nimri Aziz
How Long Can Nepal Blame Others for Its Woes?
Cesar Chelala
Violence Against Women: A Pandemic No Longer Hidden
Kim C. Domenico
To Make a Vineyard of the Curse: Fate, Fatalism and Freedom
Dave Lindorff
Criminalizing BDS Trashes Free Speech & Association
Thomas Knapp
Now More Than Ever, It’s Clear the FBI Must Go
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: The Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Edward Curtin
A Gentrified Little Town Goes to Pot
January 15, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
Refugees Are in the English Channel Because of Western Interventions in the Middle East
Howard Lisnoff
The Faux Political System by the Numbers
Lawrence Davidson
Amos Oz and the Real Israel
John W. Whitehead
Beware the Emergency State
John Laforge
Loudmouths against Nuclear Lawlessness
Myles Hoenig
Labor in the Age of Trump
Jeff Cohen
Mainstream Media Bias on 2020 Democratic Race Already in High Gear
Dean Baker
Will Paying for Kidneys Reduce the Transplant Wait List?
George Ochenski
Trump’s Wall and the Montana Senate’s Theater of the Absurd
Binoy Kampmark
Dances of Disinformation: the Partisan Politics of the Integrity Initiative
Glenn Sacks
On the Picket Lines: Los Angeles Teachers Go On Strike for First Time in 30 Years
Jonah Raskin
Love in a Cold War Climate
Andrew Stewart
The Green New Deal Must be Centered on African American and Indigenous Workers to Differentiate Itself From the Democratic Party
January 14, 2019
Kenn Orphan
The Tears of Justin Trudeau
Julia Stein
California Needs a 10-Year Green New Deal
Dean Baker
Declining Birth Rates: Is the US in Danger of Running Out of People?
Robert Fisk
The US Media has Lost One of Its Sanest Voices on Military Matters
Vijay Prashad
5.5 Million Women Build Their Wall
Nicky Reid
Lessons From Rojava
Ted Rall
Here is the Progressive Agenda
Robert Koehler
A Green Future is One Without War
Gary Leupp
The Chickens Come Home to Roost….in Northern Syria
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: “The Country Is Watching”
Sam Gordon
Who Are Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionists?
Weekend Edition
January 11, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Richard Moser
Neoliberalism: Free Market Fundamentalism or Corporate Power?
Paul Street
Bordering on Fascism: Scholars Reflect on Dangerous Times
Joseph Majerle III – Matthew Stevenson
Who or What Brought Down Dag Hammarskjöld?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Joshua Frank
How Tre Arrow Became America’s Most Wanted Environmental “Terrorist”
Andrew Levine
Dealbreakers: The Democrats, Trump and His Wall
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Que Syria, Syria
Dave Lindorff
A Potentially Tectonic Event Shakes up the Mumia Abu-Jamal Case
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail