Over 300 activists from all over the Pacific North West converged on the Port of Tacoma today to attempt to prevent the unloading of an Israeli ship, the Zim Chicago. People carpooled in from Olympia, Tacoma, Seattle and even Spokane to the Port, which is in a very isolated industrial area. Protesters leafleted the longshore workers at 3 and 5 am, and set up militant picket lines at three different locations starting at 6:30 am. Workers declined to cross the pickets but were diverted by police to a different dock where the workers were then shuttled in to the Washington United Terminal in time for their 8 am shift. Police showed their support for Israeli apartheid by also shutting down the Port of Tacoma Road, requiring drivers to show Port worker ID to go past.
Block the Boat NW media spokesperson Nada Elia explained, “We are here disrupting business as usual until the siege of Gaza is lifted.” While workers did start unloading the Zim Chicago, protesters plan to return to the Port for the second shift and continue the pickets. A volunteer who had been tracking the Zim Chicago’s progress online noted that the ship had been scheduled to dock Friday afternoon, but was held up for many hours in an apparent attempt to avoid the blockade, costing the company hundreds of thousands of dollars. Plans are in the works to block the Israeli ship at the Port of Seattle in coming days as well.