12 Dec 2011

Occupy protesters move to US ports

9:06 pm on 12 December 2011

Anti-Wall Street protesters, hoping to briefly cripple a key supply chain of American commerce and re-energise their movement, plan to attempt to block major West Coast ports on Monday.

By marching on ports from California to Alaska, organisers look to call attention to economic inequalities in the country and a financial system they complain is unfairly tilted toward the wealthy.

The planned action comes after the Occupy Wall Street movement that began in New York in September has seen its tent camps in most big West Coast cities dismantled in police raids, leaving the movement looking for new avenues to voice its discontent.

But a plan to shut multiple ports simultaneously could prove difficult because some of the facilities are in massive complexes with multiple entrances that would be tough to fully block, even if large numbers of demonstrators turn out.

Activists aligned with the Occupy Wall Street movement did briefly succeed in shutting Oakland's port, the fifth busiest in the country, for hours on 2 November after police kept their distance.

Oakland, long an Occupy hot spot, may again be centre stage on Monday, along with the combined ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Organisers are also targeting Portland, Anchorage, Seattle, Tacoma and Houston.