New York, New York
At least 320 pro-Palestinian demonstrators were arrested after demonstrating across New York City on Monday, blocking traffic on multiple bridges for more than two hours during demand rush hour. ceasefire in Gaza, According to city officials.
Jamil Madbak, an organizer with the Palestinian Youth Movement, which led the demonstration, said more than 1,000 demonstrators stood hand in hand and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge and Holland Tunnel from downtown Manhattan. Traffic was stopped.
“Our purpose today was to clog the arteries of New York City and draw attention to the ongoing genocide of Palestinians and Gaza residents,” Madbak, 29, told CNN. “American bombs and American-made internationally banned chemical weapons are being dropped on Arabs again, funded by American taxpayers and protected by American media. We think they can, but what we’re here for every week is we’re not going to let them.”
Many of the demonstrators were wearing keffiyehs. traditional Palestinian scarf, Others held up Palestinian flags and chanted “Liberate Palestine” and held banners and placards reading “ceasefire now” and “US must stop arming Israel.”
The demonstrators made “five key demands,” including “a permanent ceasefire, an end to the US government’s provision of arms to the Israeli regime, an end to the siege of Gaza, an end to the Zionist occupation, and the liberation of all Palestinians.” I’m looking for it. He is a political prisoner,” the Palestinian Youth Movement said in a news release.
The protests caused “massive traffic jams” throughout Lower Manhattan, including SoHo, Tribeca, Hudson Square, and the exit to New Jersey. The bridge closure caused “traffic congestion throughout the Financial District and Lower East Side,” the release said. All lanes on the bridge and tunnel had been reopened by 11:15 a.m., according to the New York City Police Department.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah said Monday in a daily update that there were at least 22,835 Palestinians. was killed The enclave has been under siege since the start of the Israeli war in Gaza, sparked by a devastating Hamas attack in October that killed 1,200 people.
This staggering death toll represented 1% of the enclave’s pre-war population of 2.27 million. It has now been wiped out. More than 60% of the dead were women and children, and an additional 58,416 Palestinians were injured, according to the Ministry of Health.
Hunger, disease, winter cold It threatens the survival of displaced people in the Gaza Strip. They take shelter in cold, crowded tents with little food, clean water and medicine, miraculously surviving the relentless Israeli shelling and gunfire.
“All of our actions, including today’s actions, are based on the understanding that this is America’s war on Gaza and America’s genocide of the Palestinian people,” said Madbach, a Palestinian. “Protests are important to maintain pressure and demonstrate that the U.S. government and media are accountable to those calling for an end to this genocide.”
“As we saw this morning, the right to protest does not give you the right to close bridges and tunnels,” Mayor Eric Adams said at a press conference after Monday’s demonstration.
“The goal is to have a peaceful protest without causing major disruption to the city,” Adams said, adding that people use the bridge to commute to work or respond to emergencies. .
“I have said it loud and clear: It is painful for all of us to see innocent lives being lost right now,” the mayor continued. “We must do everything possible to end the taking of innocent lives. But Hamas must be destroyed. They are a terrorist organization. 7 October Their barbaric acts should not be ignored.”
Monday’s demonstration was led by the Palestinian Youth Movement in collaboration with seven other organizations, including Jewish Voice for Peace and the Party for Socialism and Liberation. has attracted tens of thousands of people People have been protesting all over the country since the war began.
Jay Saper, an organizer with Jewish Voice for Peace, told CNN: “The massive destruction of four major bridges and tunnels in New York City during rush hour traffic this morning is a sign that Israeli “It shows that insecurity is growing as the country continues its relentless shelling of Gaza.” “The hundreds of protesters arrested in this bold action uplift the Palestinian Youth Movement’s call to bring about an immediate ceasefire and address the root causes of the injustices facing the Palestinian people. They represent a wide range of organizations that are united.”
In addition to closing busy transport hubs, bridges and roads, other measures include mandatory evacuations. Democratic National Committee They staged a sit-in on Capitol Hill at their headquarters in Washington, D.C., and marched to President Joe Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, home.
Madbach said Monday’s demonstration was an escalation from the organization’s previous actions. “Due to the dire situation on the ground in Palestine, the organizers of today’s action urge others to act bolder, more bravely and more relentlessly in solidarity with the Palestinian people in the struggle for national liberation. I’m calling out to people.”
Protesters gathered in City Hall Park, which surrounds City Hall in Lower Manhattan, on Monday morning, then marched to four separate locations, an NYPD spokesperson told CNN. NYPD Detective Arlene Muniz said protesters were arrested at all four venues and arrest counts are still being updated.
About 200 protesters were arrested on bridges in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg, the NYPD said. The Port Authority Police Department, which manages bridges and tunnels between New York and New Jersey, arrested 120 protesters who blocked the New Jersey-bound lanes of the Holland Tunnel, Port Authority spokeswoman Lenise Valens said. .
“The point today was that while Palestine continues to suffer, there will be no business as usual, no flow of daily life,” Madbak said. “We will stop the city until they stop the bombs.”
CNN’s Nikki Brown contributed to this report.