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Port of Oakland to shut down in protest at police brutality

San Francisco: Workers at Port of Oakland will down tools in protest on May 1 – and management will give their blessing, it was announced on Tuesday.

The unusual mutually agreed shutdown will be in protest at police violence across America.

Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union’s (ILWU) local branch are organising the action, which is part of a national social justice protest prompted by a spate of high-profile cases of police brutality, notably against African American victims. The latest, the death of a man in custody in Baltimore two weeks ago, led to serious rioting in that east coast city on Monday.

The ILWU proposed the port’s day-long shutdown, which will last from 8am to 5pm on Friday, and the Pacific Maritime Association (representing employers, shippers and terminal operators) gave its assent.

On the day, protesters will gather at the closed port then march to Oakland City Hall. The event is co-organised by Occupy Oakland and with input from various community groups, drawing emphasis to the “Black Lives Matter” movement.

May 1, known as May Day or International Workers’ Day, has traditionally been a day for labour-related actions and festivities around the world.

As it is limited to one shift only, the protest is expected to cause only minor disruption and minimal congestion at the port management estimate.

It is believed it will be the first time in more than a decade that the Port of Oakland employees have stopped work with the approval of business owners.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.
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