OAKLAND, Calif. - Police open fired Monday morning with non-lethal bullets at an anti-war protest at the Port of Oakland, injuring several longshoremen standing nearby.
Police were trying to clear protesters from an entrance to the docks when they opened fire and the longshoremen apparently were caught in the line of fire.
A protestor, who refused to give her name, bears the wounds after she says was hit by Oakland police weapon during a anti-war protest in Oakland, Calif., Monday, April 7, 2003 outside the port area. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
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Berkeley resident Clay Hinson (R), who was shot once in the chest and twice in the back during an anti-war protest, shows his wounds to an Oakland Police sergeant (L) who takes his statement at the West Oakland train station, April 7, 2003. Oakland police fired rubber bullets and wooden pellets on Monday to disperse hundreds of anti-war protesters in what was believed to be their first such use against U.S. protesters since the American-led war on Iraq began. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne
Six longshoremen were treated by paramedics and at least one was expected to be taken to a hospital. It was unclear if any of the protesters was injured.
"I was standing as far back as I could," said longshoreman Kevin Wilson. "It was very scary. All of that force wasn't necessary."
Last week, a San Francisco-based peace group, Direct Action to Stop the War, had announced that it would stage a series of protests Monday involving new acts of civil disobedience.
The Port of Oakland was among the targets, organizers had said, because at least one shipping company is handling war supplies.
Trent Willis, a business agent for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, said angrily that dockworkers were leaving the docks after the incident.
"They shot my guys. We're not going to work today," Willis said. "The cops had no reason to open up on them."
Police used non-lethal bullets, sandbags and concussion grenades to try to break up about 500 protesters, who split into groups in front of different terminals.
Oakland Police officer James Carroll said police set up a "skirmish line" and ordered the protesters to disperse.
"It escalated pretty quick," he said. "Usually you go to these protests and you wait around for three to four hours. Today, all of a sudden, people were being taken into custody." He could not confirm that anyone was hit by the bullets.
Protests also took place at the federal building in San Francisco and at the Concord Naval Weapons Station. Seven people were arrested when they temporarily blocked an exit ramp off Interstate 280.
© 2003 The Associated Press
An Oakland Police officer fires a shotgun towards a group of anti-war protesters near the Port of Oakland, April 7, 2003. Oakland police fired rubber bullets and wooden pellets on Monday to disperse hundreds of anti-war protesters in what was believed to be the first such use against U.S. protesters since the American-led war on Iraq began. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne