Occupy Oakland Shuts Port


Riot police fired tear gas at young protesters in Oakland, California, on Wednesday night after the port city was shut down in protest against ‘corporate greed’.

The youth defended themselves by lighting a fire and throwing stones and bottles.

Trade unionists joined students and youth from the Occupy Oakland movement on Wednesday to flood the California city’s port, the fifth-busiest container-handler in the US, shutting it down in a show of strength.

Around 10,500 people assembled in a downtown plaza, before thousands of demonstrators marched through the streets, chanting and carrying signs.

The march stopped traffic at a junction where a military veteran was seriously injured last week as protesters clashed with police.

Ex-Marine Scott Olsen, 24, is recovering in an Oakland hospital after being struck on the head with a tear gas canister fired by police.

A port statement issued late Wednesday said: ‘Operations are effectively shut down in the maritime area of the Port of Oakland. Operations will resume when it is safe and secure to do so.’

Occupy Oakland had called for a citywide general strike. The demonstrations prompted hundreds of downtown workers to stay home or leave their jobs early.

Municipal employees were told to go home about 3.15pm to reduce congestion for downtown commuters. Office staff at the Port of Oakland also left early.

More than 1,200 employees of the University of California’s Office of the President were told to work from home.

About 300 of the city’s 2,000 teachers asked for yesterday off or called in sick, according to Troy Flint, a spokesman for the Oakland Unified School District.

Also on Wednesday, in Philadelphia police arrested nine protesters who staged a sit-in inside the lobby of Comcast, America’s largest cable firm.

In New York, about 100 military veterans marched in uniform and stopped in front of the city’s stock exchange, where there was a heavy police presence.

In Boston, college students and union workers marched on Bank of America offices and the statehouse to protest over the student debt crisis.