Workers shut down ports in protest

May 1, 2008 7:44:52 PM PDT
In San Francisco May Day demonstrators also took on immigration reform, as well as rallying against the war in Iraq. At the Civic Center an anti-war demonstration got underway around 6 p.m. on Thursday.

The rally began at around 5 p.m. and focused on immigration reform and opposing the war in Iraq. There have been five other marches throughout the day and the one that got the most attention was the march Thursday morning at the Port of Oakland against the war in Iraq.

"We're marching to stop work, stopping work to stop the war," says a protester.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) led this march down San Francisco's Embarcadero. Hundreds of anti-war protesters followed.

By marching and closing down the ports along the West Coast, dockworkers hoped to put pressure on the White House to bring U.S. troops home.

"This is not a focus group today because we're shutting down commerce, 2,500 longshoremen not working today," said Clarence Thomas from the I.L.W.U.

"As a message to Mr. Bush that we are tired of the war and it has to come to an end," said a protestor at the mic.

"Bring troops home today," other protesters sang.

The march ended with a rally at Justin Herman Plaza. Dozens of anti-war groups were joined by ordinary folks who felt it was time to speak out against the war.

Peace activist Cindy Sheehan has done her share of speaking out, yet this was one protest she would not miss.

"I don't even know how many protests I've been to, but this takes it up a notch. It is shutting down production and that's what we need to do, like I said in my speech. We have to hit them where it hurts and that's in their pocketbook," says Sheehan.

"For one thing, I personally believe they should bring back the draft. Because the minute they bring back the draft, it would end the war right there and then, because every college student in the nation would be protesting and every mother," says Ernest Gaudreau, who served in Vietnam.

A small group of protesters also demonstrated outside a military recruitment center.

That same group added immigration rights to their agenda joining another big rally and march for immigration reform at Dolores Park.

ABC7 was told by police one person was arrested at Dolores Park, so that rally moved to the Civic Center. The Civic Center rally remained peaceful.


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