Pentagon spokesman Jeff Jurgensen said the Defense Department was aware of the protest and acknowledged that the vessel was part of the U.S. Navy’s efforts to move military cargo, but because of security could not provide further details about the cargo or where it was going.
“We work closely with interagency partners, to include the Department of Transportation, the U.S. Coast Guard and local law enforcement – as appropriate – to ensure the security and safety of military assets and personnel operating at commercial port facilities,” Jurgensen said.
On Friday, protesters briefly blocked that ship from leaving a port in Oakland, according to a report by CBS News. In response, the U.S. Coast Guard ultimately removed three people from the ship, according to a news release.
The attack by Hamas militants on Israelis and the Israeli military’s ensuing bombardment of the Gaza Strip, which is home to Palestinians, has sparked uproar across the world. In the Seattle area, Muslims and Jews have shared worries about increases in both Islamophobia and antisemitism and the possibility of hate crimes.
Monday’s port blockade in Tacoma comes after thousands of demonstrators rallied Saturday at the Washington state Capitol in support of Palestinians. Carrying signs bearing slogans like “Imagine peace” and “Free Palestine,” they chanted for a cease-fire and against Gov. Jay Inslee and President Joe Biden, whom they dubbed “genocide Joe.”
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