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caption: Activists and allies of the Palestinian feminist organization Falastiniyat hold a sign calling for the end to Israeli apartheid while others block an intersection in protest of the Israeli Zim San Diego Vessel, on Thursday, June 17, 2021, at the Port of Seattle. 
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Activists and allies of the Palestinian feminist organization Falastiniyat hold a sign calling for the end to Israeli apartheid while others block an intersection in protest of the Israeli Zim San Diego Vessel, on Thursday, June 17, 2021, at the Port of Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

'Stop taking anything from Israel': Block the Boat movement aims to halt cargo ship at Seattle Port

Demonstrators gathered near the Port of Seattle Thursday afternoon.

Their aim – was to block the unloading of a cargo ship owned by the shipping company ZIM, which was founded in Israel.

Demonstrators are using the ship’s arrival as a way to protest Israeli actions in Gaza last month.

Aisha Mansour is with Falastiniyat, a feminist grassroots collective which organized the protest. “We’re hoping to have a non-violent protest today where we just basically have some civic disobedience and we tell people, 'Hey, don’t benefit from Israeli apartheid,'" she said. "This is how we liberated South Africa from apartheid and we’re just trying to tell our ports, stop taking anything from Israel.”

The union representing dockworkers supports the demonstrators’ first amendment rights, it said in a statement.

Protesters said they hoped to create a barrier that union workers would refuse to cross.

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant marched with the group, too, in part to make clear, she sees this as a union issue. “What we need ultimately is coordinated action by unions, including the port workers, who will have to be at the forefront of it in the United States, to block military and arms shipments to Israel,” she said.

Fred Felleman is the president of the Port Commission. He says he believes in free speech, but he disagrees with the demonstrators’ strategy.

“This particular company, is purported to be Israeli-owned. But it’s not. It’s a public entity on the stock market," he said. "To target a shipping company is not targeting the cause of the problem. The impact is not on world politics, but on the working class waterfront.”

At a similar protest in Oakland a couple of weeks ago, the boat left without docking.

ZIM did not respond to a request for comment.

UPDATE, 8:46pm: Seattle Police say they arrested 10 protesters.

caption: Jasmine Fernandez marches alongside Palestinian activists and allies before blocking an intersection in protest of the Israeli Zim San Diego Vessel on Thursday, June 17, 2021, at the Port of Seattle.
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Jasmine Fernandez marches alongside Palestinian activists and allies before blocking an intersection in protest of the Israeli Zim San Diego Vessel on Thursday, June 17, 2021, at the Port of Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer
caption: The ZIM San Diego, far right, is shown on Thursday, June 17, 2021, at the Port of Seattle.
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The ZIM San Diego, far right, is shown on Thursday, June 17, 2021, at the Port of Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer
caption: Activists and allies of the Palestinian feminist organization Falastiniyat block an intersection in protest of the Israeli Zim San Diego Vessel, on Thursday, June 17, 2021, at the Port of Seattle. "We are now calling on our city officials to stand behind their communities against Israeli human rights abuses, and not to give into the bullying of the apartheid state of Israel," said Aisha Mansour, a representative of Falastiniyat.
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Activists and allies of the Palestinian feminist organization Falastiniyat block an intersection in protest of the Israeli Zim San Diego Vessel, on Thursday, June 17, 2021, at the Port of Seattle. "We are now calling on our city officials to stand behind their communities against Israeli human rights abuses, and not to give into the bullying of the apartheid state of Israel," said Aisha Mansour, a representative of Falastiniyat.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer
caption: Aisha Mansour, a representative of Palestinian feminist organization Falastiniyat, leads a chant before blocking an intersection in protest of the Israeli Zim San Diego Vessel, on Thursday, June 17, 2021, at the Port of Seattle. "By blocking Zim from unloading at our port, we have made clear that the city of Seattle does not welcome any business that profits from apartheid or human rights violations," said Mansour.
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Aisha Mansour, a representative of Palestinian feminist organization Falastiniyat, leads a chant before blocking an intersection in protest of the Israeli Zim San Diego Vessel, on Thursday, June 17, 2021, at the Port of Seattle. "By blocking Zim from unloading at our port, we have made clear that the city of Seattle does not welcome any business that profits from apartheid or human rights violations," said Mansour.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer
caption: Seattle police officers are shown shortly before giving dispersal orders to activists and allies of the Palestinian feminist organization Falastiniyat, who blocked an intersection in protest of the Israeli Zim San Diego Vessel, on Thursday, June 17, 2021, at the Port of Seattle.
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Seattle police officers are shown shortly before giving dispersal orders to activists and allies of the Palestinian feminist organization Falastiniyat, who blocked an intersection in protest of the Israeli Zim San Diego Vessel, on Thursday, June 17, 2021, at the Port of Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer
caption: Activists and allies of the Palestinian feminist organization Falastiniyat, including Omar Elseaidy, right, carry the flag of Palestine while blocking an intersection in protest of the ZIM San Diego vessel, on Thursday, June 17, 2021, at the Port of Seattle. "We are now calling on our city officials to stand behind their communities against Israeli human rights abuses, and not to give into the bullying of the apartheid state of Israel," said Aisha Mansour, a representative of Falastiniyat.
Enlarge Icon
Activists and allies of the Palestinian feminist organization Falastiniyat, including Omar Elseaidy, right, carry the flag of Palestine while blocking an intersection in protest of the ZIM San Diego vessel, on Thursday, June 17, 2021, at the Port of Seattle. "We are now calling on our city officials to stand behind their communities against Israeli human rights abuses, and not to give into the bullying of the apartheid state of Israel," said Aisha Mansour, a representative of Falastiniyat.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer
caption: Activists and allies of the Palestinian feminist organization Falastiniyat prepare to block an intersection in protest of the Israeli Zim San Diego Vessel, on Thursday, June 17, 2021, at the Port of Seattle. "By blocking Zim from unloading at our port, we have made clear that the city of Seattle does not welcome any business that profits from apartheid or human rights violations," said Aisha Mansour, a representative of Falastiniyat.
Enlarge Icon
Activists and allies of the Palestinian feminist organization Falastiniyat prepare to block an intersection in protest of the Israeli Zim San Diego Vessel, on Thursday, June 17, 2021, at the Port of Seattle. "By blocking Zim from unloading at our port, we have made clear that the city of Seattle does not welcome any business that profits from apartheid or human rights violations," said Aisha Mansour, a representative of Falastiniyat.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer