BDS protestors confront Israeli shipping line in Tampa
The following is a write up of the Block the Boat Tampa picket and protest which was held in the morning hours of October 11th at the Port of Tampa against the ZIM ship, Alabama.
At 5:30 am, activists, community organizers, local labor union members and representatives and members from nearly two dozen social justice organizations marched down the entryway to the Port of Tampa where barricades were set up to stifle our resistance to Israeli apartheid entering our shores, our community in Tampa Bay.
With the wind at our backs of 18 endorsing organizations the world over, we refused the barricades and held signs and banners for the entering ILA Local 1402 members asking them to respect our picket line, as we would respect theirs- Do not cross. Delay the ZIM. Show your solidarity for the children, women and men of Gaza who have just endured another genocidal offensive over the summer in the besieged coastal enclave that is the Gaza strip by Israeli forces.
A fleet of half a dozen cars full of blockaders drove slowly down the entry way to the Port flying Palestinian flags, waving signs and yelling our resistance to ZIM Integrated Shipping Services and occupation as police blared sirens, followed and issued citations.
In the lead up to the action, several organizers went to the union hall every morning delivering letters directly written to the ILA 1402 rank and filers asking them to make a small sacrifice for the occupied Palestinian people and for the Palestinian dockworkers who are unable to work because of the seaport blockades. Labor to labor and labor to community solidarity.
The ILA Local 1402 did not delay the ZIM. They crossed our picket line. But throughout the day, we received communications from several supportive longshoremen of the Local who asked us not to give up, not to quit, not to stop letting people know of the atrocities that were committed during Operation Protective Edge.
For four hours, dozens played drums, dozens more marched non stop back and forth across the entry way to the port so that every single truck that would be transporting and distributing ZIM shipped cargo would not do so unabated. Dozens more held signs and banners so that everyone knew that there was mass, united resistance to full US financial complicity and backing of Israel’s occupation and massacre of Palestinians.
For those who are now left battling the war of violently imposed humanitarian crisis in Gaza- for the 15,000 plus homes that were destroyed during Israel’s latest 51 day offensive that left over 2,150 Palestinian children, women and men dead- for those strangled under the 8 year siege by land, air and sea- we are already well into the stages of organizing the next blockade action which will take place on November 1st at the Port of Tampa.
(Article and photos submitted by the Block the Boat Protestors, Tampa, Florida. Reach and support them at email@example.com)