Palestinian organizers protest Navy vessel said to be headed to Israel

Pro-Palestinian-protesters-Pier-30-to-halt-departure-of-USNS-Harvey-Milk-to-Israel-032924-by-Griffin-1-1400x1050, Palestinian organizers protest Navy vessel said to be headed to Israel, Featured Local News & Views World News & Views
In a driving rainstorm, protesters supporting Palestine denounce former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s press conference celebrating the ship’s maiden voyage after hearing that it is sailing to Israel to support the genocide on Gaza. – Photo: Griffin Jones

Multiple protestors arrested at Pier 30 where USNS Harvey Milk is docked

by Griffin Jones

At 12 p.m. today, Palestinian activists and allies rallied in a driving rainstorm at the gateway to the United States Naval Ship Harvey Milk docked at Pier 30 in San Francisco. Coordinators of the rally, which include the Arab Resource and Organizing Center and Palestinian Youth Movement, say the ship is headed to Israel loaded with fuel and supplies to continue the US-funded bombardment of Palestine.

The protest was intended to stop the ship’s departure and denounce former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s press conference, held this morning at 11 a.m., celebrating the ship’s maiden voyage. Pelosi’s press conference was originally scheduled to take place on the USNS Harvey Milk, but “was moved indoors due to the pouring rain,” according to a spokesperson. 

CBS reported earlier today that the ship is headed to the Middle East for its first mission this afternoon. The SF Bay View was unable to confirm the USNS Harvey Milk’s destination, but reports say it is headed to dock permanently in Norfolk, Va.

Ultimately, said Suzanne Ali, a Palestinian-American coordinator with the Palestinian Youth Movement, the protest was a success, though it is yet to be determined whether the ship’s departure has been stalled.

In total, 14 protesters were arrested, according to someone present at the rally who asked not to be named. Nine of those chained themselves to the stairs of the gangplank after running to the ship, with one of the activists getting her hijab ripped off her head by an officer.

“We know the United States provides the Israeli occupation well over $3.9 billion every single year. And, in the past six months, they’ve been loading Israel with money and military equipment.”

The Washington Post reported that, in the past few days, President Biden authorized the quiet transfer of billions of dollars in bombs and fighter jets to Israel, despite the International Court of Justice ruling the assault on Palestine plausibly a genocide, and despite recent United Nations comments implicating Israel in genocide.

Today’s protest went from 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., when the storm escalated, upending umbrellas and soaking clothes. At its height, the protest numbered over 200 people circling and chanting along the chain link fence separating Pier 30 from the sidewalk.

The USNS ship is the first military vessel named after an openly gay person. Harvey Milk, a San Francisco supervisor and champion of universal civil rights, was assassinated for his views in 1978. USNS Harvey Milk is a replenishment oiler — a ship that stocks others with fuel, oftentimes also restocking food and weapons.

Griffin Jones is a San Francisco-based freelance writer. She formerly worked at Mission Local, the San Francisco Bay View and the Los Angeles Review of Books. She can be reached at