Steve Chiotakis: Occupy Wall Street demonstrators are stationed at this moment where they’ve been for a long time. In New York, DC, and today at ports up and down the Pacific Coast. At the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach — one of the world’s busiest ports — a couple hundred folks and dozens of police are dancing around each other in the rain.
Krissy Clark is L.A. bureau chief for station KQED. She’s there at the moment. Hey Krissy.
Krissy Clark: Hi Steve.
Chiotakis: What kind of activity is going on right there? What are you seeing?
Clark: There is a bit of a stand off going on right now between some protesters who have taken over an intersection at the Port of Long Beach and they are bit surrounded by both long lines of traffic going in both directions and a number of Long Beach police who have asked the crowd to disperse and leave the roadway. Some of them are in the process of doing that right now, others are not — so if you hear me running all of a sudden, it’s because they have found they really mean it.
Chiotakis: Why target the ports Krissy?
Clark: I’ve spoken to a number of Occupy protesters and others who say that the ports are sort of an exemplification of international trade at its worst sometimes.
Chiotakis: What kind of economic damage do Occupy organizers think they can do?
Clark: A lot of the Occupy protesters that I’ve spoken to here know that it would be difficult for them to really shut down the ports here. There’s dozens and dozens of miles of waterfront; 5,000 trucks come in and out of here each day. But what they’re hoping to do is at least create a presence and reminder to those who are working here, they say, to disrupt some of the trade that’s going on today.
Chiotakis: They sure are creating a presence, that’s for sure.
Clark: They are. And you know, it’s worth noting that they’ve gotten different reactions from some of the workers who have come to the ports to work. The International Longshore Workers Union and some other unions have distanced themselves from the protest because it would go against — they’re sort of contractually obliged not to participate in it, it would be an illegal strike.
I’ve spoken to some workers who have been very frustrated, they haven’t been able to get to work on time and they say they’re the 99 percent, they’re just trying to make a living. I’ve also spoken to some workers who didn’t know this was going on and are excited to see people out in the streets. And they said that they would be out there if they could, and they’ve smiled and given a thumbs up to them. So it’s kind of a mixed reaction among the workers here.
Chiotakis: Krissy Clark, from station KQED and the California Report. Krissy, thanks.
Clark: Thank you.
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