Early in the morning on Friday, November 5th, pro-Palestinian protestors united at the Port of Oakland to prevent a US military vessel (MV Cape Orlando) allegedly containing military aid for Israel from embarking on its destination. An estimated 200 demonstrators gathered to block the entrance where the vessel was set to depart.
Amid violent and tragic circumstances in Palestine, widespread protests have taken place. From the West Coast to the East, people have shown both outrage and support.
After Israel’s violent retaliation to the Hamas attacks on October 7th, the lives of nearly 10,000 Palestinians have been taken, some 4,000 of which are children (according to numbers from UN News).
The death toll of Israelis from the Hamas attacks is around 1,400, and there are an initial 400 who are currently missing. Many are calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, while others are demanding those kidnapped by Hamas must be returned before the Israeli military halts its attacks.
Journalists like Plestia Alqad (@byplestia on Instagram) have been documenting the state of life in Gaza post-October 7th. “I’m so mad, sad, angry, devastated, drained and depressed.. I have nothing left to say.. why do we Palestinians have to film our own country getting bombed, and our own people getting killed just for the world to WATCH SILENTLY??” Alqad writes in a recent post.
Organizers, Jewish Voices for Peace and Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC) communicated their solidarity for the Palestinian people, marching alongside protestors with a banner demanding “Ceasefire!”
From morning to afternoon, protestors raised Palestinian flags high while chanting rally cries; “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
NBC Bay Area spoke with Oakland protestor Waeil Elbhassi, whose family members currently reside in Gaza– multiple of whom have become casualties from the daily bombings from Israeli military forces.
“Between the calls from home and social media timelines with reports of parents digging up dead children, Elbhassi is tired of questions about Hamas, noting the conflict was taking place long before Oct. 7. “We’re talking about, really, a century of colonization, displacement and systematic violence against our people,” he continued. “I mean, Gaza has been under siege for 16 years … People cannot look at all this — at this condition and all this violence — and just continue to talk about Hamas.” – NBC Bay Area
Although there has not been federal confirmation or tracking information regarding the vessel’s purpose or path, AROC stated in a press release that “confidential sources at the port say that the vessel will be loaded with weapons and military equipment in Tacoma, with a final destination in Israel.”
Despite efforts from passionate protestors, the ship left the port by late afternoon. Three protestors who climbed onto the vessel have allegedly been detained, however, OPD’s spokesperson Paul Chambers stated that no arrests were made.