February 28, 2024

By Alaa Elassar and Emma Tucker | CNN

At the very least 320 pro-Palestinian protesters have been arrested after staging an illustration throughout New York Metropolis on Monday, blocking visitors on a number of bridges for greater than two hours throughout rush hour to demand a ceasefire in Gaza, in accordance with metropolis officers.

Greater than 1,000 protesters stood hand-in-hand, halting outgoing visitors from downtown Manhattan on the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge and the Holland Tunnel, in accordance with Jamil Madbak, an organizer with the Palestinian Youth Motion, which led the demonstration.

“Our intention as we speak was to clog the arteries of New York Metropolis to attract consideration to the continuing genocide of the Palestinian folks and the folks of Gaza,” Madbak, 29, instructed CNN. “American bombs and American-made internationally prohibited chemical weapons are being dropped on Arabs once more, financed by American tax {dollars} and guarded by the American media, once more. These in energy suppose they will get away with this, however us being out right here each week is our method of claiming we gained’t allow them to.”

Demonstrators, many carrying keffiyehs, the standard Palestinian scarf, or holding up the Palestinian flag, chanted, “Free Palestine,” and carried banners and indicators that learn “ceasefire now” and “USA cease arming Israel.”

The protesters are calling for “5 key calls for,” which embody “a everlasting ceasefire, an finish to the U.S. authorities’s arming of the Israeli regime, an finish to the siege of Gaza, an finish to Zionist occupation, and the discharge of all Palestinian political prisoners,” the Palestinian Youth Motion stated in a information launch.

The protest prompted “huge visitors jams” all through decrease Manhattan, together with SoHo, Tribeca and Hudson Sq., in addition to the exit into New Jersey. The blockades on the bridges additionally prompted “gridlock all through the Monetary District and Decrease East Facet,” the discharge stated. All lanes on the bridges and tunnels have been reopened by 11:15 a.m., in accordance with the New York Metropolis Police Division.

The Palestinian Ministry of Well being in Ramallah introduced Monday in its day by day replace no less than 22,835 Palestinians have been killed within the besieged enclave because the starting of Israel’s conflict in Gaza, sparked by the devastating Hamas assault in October that killed 1,200 folks.

That staggering demise toll means 1% of the enclave’s pre-war inhabitants of two.27 million folks has now been worn out. Over 60% of these killed have been lady and kids, and an extra 58,416 Palestinians have been injured, in accordance with the well being ministry.

Hunger, illness and winter chill threaten the survival of displaced civilians in Gaza, who’re miraculously surviving Israel’s relentless bombardment and shootings by sheltering in chilly, crowded tents with little meals, clear water or drugs.

“All our actions, together with as we speak’s motion, stem from an understanding that that is an American conflict on Gaza and an American genocide of the Palestinian folks,” Madbak, who’s Palestinian, stated. “The protests are vital to take care of strain, to indicate that the US authorities and media are accountable to the people who find themselves demanding an finish to this genocide.”

Mayor criticizes protests as organizers name for extra motion

Throughout a information convention Monday after the demonstrations, Mayor Eric Adams stated, “The fitting to protest doesn’t give one the suitable to dam bridges and tunnels, as we noticed this morning.”

“The purpose is to peacefully protest with out doing main disruption to the town,” Adams stated, including folks use the bridges to get to work and cope with emergencies.

“I’ve been extraordinarily clear – it provides us all ache to see harmless lives being misplaced proper now,” the mayor continued. “We have to do the whole lot that’s potential to finish something that’s going to take the lives of harmless folks. However Hamas should be destroyed. They’re a terrorist group. Their barbaric act on October 7 shouldn’t be ignored.”

Monday’s demonstration was led by the Palestinian Youth Motion in collaboration with seven different organizations, together with Jewish Voice for Peace and the Celebration for Socialism and Liberation, which have been bringing collectively tens of 1000’s of individuals throughout the nation in protests because the starting of the conflict.

“The huge disruption of 4 of New York Metropolis’s main bridges and tunnels throughout rush hour visitors this morning indicators rising unrest as Israel continues its relentless bombardment of Gaza,” Jewish Voice for Peace organizer Jay Saper instructed CNN. “The a whole bunch of protesters arrested taking this daring motion signify a broad vary of organizations united in uplifting the decision of the Palestinian Youth Motion to result in a direct ceasefire and tackle the basis causes of injustice confronted by the Palestinian folks.”

Together with shutting down busy transportation hubs, bridges and streets, different actions have included forcing evacuations of the Democratic Nationwide Committee headquarters in Washington, DC, holding a sit-in on Capitol Hill and marching to the entrance of President Joe Biden’s Wilmington, Delaware, residence.

Madbak stated Monday’s demonstration was an escalation from the group’s earlier actions. “Due to the dire state of affairs on the bottom in Palestine, the organizers of as we speak’s motion are calling on others to be extra bolder, extra brave, and extra relentless of their solidarity with the Palestinian folks of their battle for nationwide liberation.”

The protesters met at Metropolis Corridor Park – which surrounds Metropolis Corridor in decrease Manhattan – Monday morning earlier than marching to the 4 separate areas, a spokesperson for the NYPD instructed CNN. Protesters have been arrested in any respect 4 websites and the variety of arrests remains to be being up to date, in accordance with NYPD Detective Arlene Muniz.

Roughly 200 protesters have been arrested on the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges, in accordance with the NYPD. The Port Authority Police Division, which manages the bridges and tunnels between New York and New Jersey, arrested 120 protesters blocking the Holland Tunnel’s New Jersey-bound lanes, stated Port Authority spokesperson Lenis Valens.

“The purpose as we speak was to say there will probably be no enterprise as regular, no stream of day by day life whereas Palestine continues to endure,” Madbak stated. “We’ll cease the town till they cease the bombs.”

CNN’s Nicki Brown contributed to this report.