‘Occupy Oakland’ Protesters Force Shutdown of Major Port

Posted November 3rd, 2011 at 2:15 am (UTC-5)
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Thousands of protesters from the Occupy Wall Street movement have forced the temporary closure of the United States' fifth largest port in the western Californian city of Oakland.

Officials at the Port of Oakland said late Wednesday they suspended maritime operations and sent home main office employees in order “to ensure their safety” and the facilitate the smooth flow of traffic in the area. Port officials say operations will resume “when it is safe to do so.”

Earlier Wednesday, thousands of demonstrators marched through downtown Oakland in an attempt to affect a city-wide general strike.

The protesters called on people to walk out of school and off their jobs, but seemed to be only partially successfully in shutting down the city.

Businesses in Oakland largely appeared to be carrying on as usual, though Oakland school officials said about 18 percent of its teachers did not show up for work.

Much of the protest on Wednesday was centered in a downtown intersection where demonstrator and Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen was seriously injured last week during a clash between protesters and police.

Protesters say Olsen, who is now in fair condition, suffered a fractured skull after being struck in the head by a projectile launched by the police. Oakland police have opened an investigation into the incident.

The incident has further galvanized the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has sprung up in public parks and squares in major cities across the United States and around the globe.

Demonstrators have numerous demands, including ending U.S. foreign military action, raising taxes on the wealthy, and more government social spending.

Protesters have said they hope the movement will last until at least the next U.S. presidential and congressional elections in November 2012.