BLOCK THE BOAT #BDS
END ISRAELI APARTHEID
Seattle Police Crackdown on Pro-Palestine Mobilizations against Israeli shipping company at Port of Seattle; Protest leaders say: “We won’t back down.”
After community pickets prevented the controversial Israeli ZIM shipping company from unloading in the Port of Seattle for 4 days, ZIM was asked to leave by port officials. The Seattle Police Department was called to break up the peaceful pickets, arresting 10 demonstrators.
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Oakland, CA – In Seattle, police arrested 10 community members who were participating in a nonviolent community picket at Seattle’s port against the Israeli ZIM shipping company. Falastiniyat, a Palestinian feminist collective has led pickets blocking ZIM San Diego ship from being unloaded for the past 4 days.
“ZIM is clearly desperate. No workers crossed our picket and ZIM was unwilling to leave after SSA Marine Corporation had asked the ZIM San Diego to leave.” said Aisha Mansour of Falastiniyat. “It’s telling that this corporation would rely on police violence to suppress a peaceful picket protesting against Israeli apartheid. These actions are clear attempts at intimidating our community that is standing up for human rights in Palestine and everywhere. We will never stop fighting against Israeli apartheid, from Seattle, to Jerusalem.”
The ZIM San Diego was kept at bay for nearly two weeks before its first unsuccessful attempt to unload cargo on June 12th. Across at least 4 days of action, no worker with the ILWU Local 19 crossed the community picket. Despite the community pickets and an order by SSA Marine for ZIM to undock its vessel, today, the Seattle Police Department cracked down on the protestors, issuing multiple arrests. SPD has been accused by a number of oversight bodies for excessive and disproportionate force used against protestors. ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd (ZIM) is Israel’s largest cargo shipping company, drawing controversy for dealing in Israeli manufactured military technology, armaments and logistics equipment.
Despite the crackdown, organizers see the disruption of ZIM’s operations as a major victory for the international Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions (BDS) movement, which works to put pressure on businesses profiting from Israeli apartheid. The actions in Seattle come just weeks after the Bay Area-based Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC) mobilized thousands to block the unloading of the ZIM-operated Volans ship at the Port of Oakland.
“From Oakland to Seattle, we have demonstrated that workers and social justice movements support the Palestinian struggle for freedom, and that there will be a high price for all companies who do business that profits the apartheid state of Israel,” said Lara Kiswani, Executive Director of AROC. “We will not stand down.”
Communities in numerous cities joined AROC’s call for an international week of action to protest ZIM. Activists in Los Angeles, Houston, New York, Detroit, Philadelphia, Vancouver, and in Naples, Italy and Durban, South Africa have taken on solidarity protests, while further actions are also set to take place.
–Spokespeople available upon request–