Pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Oakland, California, prevented a U.S. military cargo vessel from departing the port on Friday. They held the belief that this ship was scheduled to transport military supplies to Israel. The protesters secured themselves to the Cape Orlando, asserting that it was destined to load weaponry in Tacoma, Washington, before heading to its purported destination.
Protesters additionally obstructed access to the dock where the vessel was docked, and three others clung to a rope ladder, preventing workers from sealing the ship’s door. The demonstration commenced in the early hours of the day with approximately 50 demonstrators, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, and later swelled to around 200 participants.
Meena Abushamala, a participant in the protest, expressed her strong displeasure, highlighting her anger over the fact that our public funds support what she described as a widespread genocide and the ongoing displacement of her community.
The Arab Resource Organizing Center, headquartered in San Francisco and responsible for coordinating the protest, reported that the U.S. Coast Guard took into custody the three demonstrators.
Petty Officer Hunter Schnabel stated that there are ongoing inquiries involving several individuals but did not offer additional details. According to the Chronicle, the Cape Orlando, constructed in 1981, joined the U.S. Ready Reserve fleet in 1994. The vessel was deployed during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Lara Kiswani, who serves as the executive director of the AROC, expressed her certainty that the ship was intended to transport weaponry to Israel. She called upon the leadership in Oakland to take action to prevent what she characterized as a genocide.
As of Saturday evening, a website for tracking ships indicated that the Cape Orlando was positioned off the Northern California coast, following a northwest route.