Protesters have blocked at least two entrances to the Port of Oakland this morning as part of a planned all-day West Coast port blockade.
As of 9 a.m., hundreds of protesters had blocked off the entrance to Berths 30-32, and Alameda County sheriff’s deputies were keeping an eye on hundreds more who had gathered at the entrance to Berths 55-56.
Dozens of trucks were lined up outside both entrances as drivers waited to get into the port.
One truck driver, who declined to give his name, said he had come from Santa Rosa and had been waiting since 5 a.m.
He said he anticipates that the port will be closed all day and is awaiting instructions on what to do with his cargo.
Meanwhile, protesters milled about, chanting and playing music. Around 8:45 a.m., dozens of police officers in riot gear showed up at the entrance to Berths 30-32 but then left a few minutes later.
Protester Shake Anderson, who said he has been involved in the Occupy Oakland movement since the beginning, said the demonstrators’ strategy is to keep a large crowd at the port to make it difficult for police to make arrests.
“It’s all about numbers,” he said.
Oakland attorney Dan Siegel, Mayor Jean Quan’s former legal adviser, was among those participating in the march to the port this morning.
Siegel resigned as Quan’s unpaid legal adviser on Nov. 14, the morning that police raided the Occupy Oakland encampment outside City Hall. He was leaving this morning’s protest at about 7:20 a.m., heading to a client’s court hearing.
Protesters began marching from the West Oakland BART station shortly after 5:30 a.m.
They plan to hold several other marches throughout the day to disrupt shipping, including a march at 4 p.m. from Frank Ogawa Plaza, and another from the West Oakland BART station at 5 p.m.
Oakland police said this morning that they will attempt to keep the port open, but that traffic through Oakland may be disrupted as they facilitate marches through the city.
Port of Oakland officials said around 7:15 a.m. that operations were continuing at the port with “sporadic disruptions” caused by the protests.
Quan held a news conference this morning at which she called on protesters to “respect the rights of the 99 percent who are trying to work today.”
The blockade is part of a coordinated West Coast port shutdown involving Occupy movements from Anchorage, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, San Diego and other cities.
“They performed a coordinated attack on the whole Occupy Wall Street because this is a threatening movement to the 1 percent,” organizer Boots Riley, of the hip-hop group The Coup, said today.
“This is a retaliation against that. We’re causing a lot of profit loss to show it’s not a feasible economic plan for them to attack us,” Riley said.
Riley said the action is also in solidarity with International Longshore and Warehouse Union members in a labor dispute with grain exporter EGT in Longview, Wash., and with truck drivers in Los Angeles who are classified as independent contractors and do not receive benefits.
Port and city officials and ILWU leaders have criticized the plan, saying that the action will hurt port workers by costing them wages.
ILWU leaders have said that while they support the broader goals of the Occupy movement, they have accused Occupy activists of trying to co-opt union struggles for a broader agenda.