OAKLAND -- Protesters have effectively shut down maritime operations at the Port, Director Omar Benjamin said at a media briefing Tuesday, as more than 4,000 people are at the gates.

The crowd stretched several blocks down Middle Harbor Road leading into the port as they begin their attempt to shut down the port for start of the 7 p.m. night shift.

Benjamin pledged that normal port operations would resume, however, and asked protesters to give workers safe passage to their homes.

As they walked the one mile from 14th Street and Broadway, the crowd fanned out for a least a mile, climbed on trucks and chanted. "Whose city is it? Our city!" Police cars are parked on side streets but are keeping a low profile. The march is peaceful so far and no injuries have been reported.

The action is part of the Wednesday general strike, the first one in Oakland since 1946, which was launched to shut down the city for the day in a rally cry against corporate greed, widespread unemployment and wage inequality.
Meanwhile at Whole Foods at 27th and Bay streets, a splinter group wearing all-black and face masks threw paintballs, left graffiti, tore up a fence and broke a window before the larger crowd turned on them and forced them to stop. There were about 75 people inside the store at the time. No injuries were reported.

A man who witnessed the attack but declined to give his name said he was buying an organic orange when the crowd arrived.