Occupy Wall Street protesters target West Coast ports

AP file photoOccupy Oakland protesters on bicycles block truck traffic in front of the American President Lines at the Port of Oakland on Nov. 2 in Oakland.

Occupy Wall Street protesters are planning to shut down ports up and down the West Coast on Monday in a bid to gum up the engines of global commerce.

Protest groups in cities such as Oakland; Los Angeles; San Diego; Portland, Ore.; Tacoma, Wash.; Seattle; Anchorage; and Vancouver plan to blockade their local ports.

Organizers say the shutdowns are meant to highlight what they see as abuses inflicted by wealthy companies taking place well beyond Wall Street itself. They also hope to show that Occupy activists can still muster a major national protest despite the scattering of their camps by police raids.

“Even though there’s not an encampment, there’s still a huge movement,” said Barucha Peller, who is part of the Occupy Oakland group that launched today’s planned blockade and successfully forced a shutdown of the Port of Oakland in November.

The Port of Oakland has taken out ads urging residents not to support the shutdown, which port officials said would steer traffic to other ports and hinder job-creation initiatives.

Demonstrators are scheduled to start marching to the port at 5:30 a.m. from the West Oakland BART station. Other events are planned throughout the day, including a 3 p.m. rally at 14th Street and Broadway.

Wire services contributed to this report.

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