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Protesters Block Road at Port of Tacoma to Demand Cease-Fire in Gaza as Military Cargo Ship Arrives

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered at the Port of Tacoma in Washington state on Monday to demand a cease-fire in Gaza. They blocked traffic at the port, where a military supply ship had recently arrived. The protesters opposed the ongoing Israel-Hamas war and claimed that the ship, named Cape Orlando, was carrying weapons bound for Israel. However, these claims have not been confirmed.

According to Lt. Col. Bryon J. McGarry, a spokesperson for the Department of Defense, the Cape Orlando is under the control of the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command and is involved in transporting U.S. military cargo. McGarry stated that due to operations security, the DoD cannot provide details about the cargo or the ship’s movement.

The Cape Orlando had previously faced similar protests in Oakland, California, where it docked before sailing to Tacoma. About 300 protesters in Oakland delayed the ship’s departure, and three individuals who climbed onto the ship were detained by the U.S. Coast Guard. The detainees have since been released, and investigations are ongoing.

At the Port of Tacoma, around 200 protesters remained by midmorning, carrying signs with messages such as “No Aid For Israel” and “Free All Palestinian Prisoners.” Their aim was to prevent the Cape Orlando from being loaded with any cargo. No arrests had been made at that point.

Wassim Hage, from the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, said that the protesters were standing against funding for genocide and the delivery of U.S. bombs that are being used to bomb hospitals and kill children in Gaza.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 23, representing workers at the Port of Tacoma, did not respond to requests for comment.

Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry reported that over 10,000 Palestinians have been killed in the month-long war in Gaza, with more than 4,000 of those being children and minors. The number of casualties is expected to rise as Israeli troops advance into densely populated areas.

Associated Press reporter Janie Har in San Francisco contributed to this report.

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