March on the Port of Oakland: November 2, 2011

As Occupy Wall Street enters its second month, people across the country have taken up the banners of the movement, galvanized by membership in the 99%. And though stark images of violence, broken windows, burnt dumpsters and graffiti in Oakland’s city center have become the focus the protest’s media coverage, what I saw during the afternoon on Nov. 2 was a peaceful, positive show of people power.

All photos by Alma Shaw

The Alameda Labor Council serves hamburgers, beans and rice to a long line of people before the 4pm and 5pm marches to the port.

The march took us through downtown and into West Oakland. As we neared the port, the crowds grew thicker.

The 4pm march pours into the port. Trucks were unable to move through the traffic. Omar Benjamin, Director of the Port of Oakland, confirmed the closing of the port at an evening news conference.

“Maritime operations remain effectively shut down. And the port is working to ensure that all workers in the harbor area can get home safely… It is our hope that the work day can resume tomorrow and port workers will be allowed to get to their jobs without incident,” Benjamin said.

Once the protesters arrived at the port, they stood on top of trucks, waved flags, danced, listened to a band playing through bicycle-powered generators, fed their babies, chatted and blocked entrances.

A second wave of marchers came through at about 5:30pm. Crowd attendance estimates run in the thousands. The march was peaceful, with minimal police presence.

As it grew dark, marchers continued to pour in and out. Families with baby strollers, people on bicycles, elderly folks in wheelchairs, the old, the young, all walking back and forth across the bridge.

Sonoma County Library