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AP: Police Attack California Anti-War Protesters

by Marth Mendoza, Associated Press
Rubber bullets fired at demonstrators. Longshoremen hit.
Published on Monday, April 7, 2003 by the Associated Press

Police Attack California Anti-War Protesters

by Marth Mendoza

OAKLAND, Calif. - Police open fired Monday morning with non-lethal bullets at an anti-war protest at the Port of Oakland, injuring several longshoremen standing nearby.

Police were trying to clear protesters from an entrance to the docks when they opened fire and the longshoremen apparently were caught in the line of fire.

Six longshoremen were treated by paramedics and at least one was expected to be taken to a hospital. It was unclear if any of the protesters was injured.

"I was standing as far back as I could," said longshoreman Kevin Wilson. "It was very scary. All of that force wasn't necessary."

Last week, a San Francisco-based peace group, Direct Action to Stop the War, had announced that it would stage a series of protests Monday involving new acts of civil disobedience.

The Port of Oakland was among the targets, organizers had said, because at least one shipping company is handling war supplies.

Trent Willis, a business agent for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, said angrily that dockworkers were leaving the docks after the incident.

"They shot my guys. We're not going to work today," Willis said. "The cops had no reason to open up on them."

Police used non-lethal bullets, sandbags and concussion grenades to try to break up about 500 protesters, who split into groups in front of different terminals.

Oakland Police officer James Carroll said police set up a "skirmish line" and ordered the protesters to disperse.

"It escalated pretty quick," he said. "Usually you go to these protests and you wait around for three to four hours. Today, all of a sudden, people were being taken into custody." He could not confirm that anyone was hit by the bullets.

Protests also took place at the federal building in San Francisco and at the Concord Naval Weapons Station. Seven people were arrested when they temporarily blocked an exit ramp off Interstate 280.

© 2003 The Associated Press
shared under Fair Use

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