Look: Gaza protesters block New York bridges, tunnel

Protesters locked themselves to tires, chairs and each other on the Brooklyn Bridge

By AFP

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Photos: Reuters
Photos: Reuters

Published: Mon 8 Jan 2024, 10:43 PM

Dozens of pro-Palestinian demonstrators blocked three arterial bridges and a tunnel connecting Manhattan with the rest of New York and surrounding areas on Monday, in a coordinated action protesting the Israel-Hamas war.

New York has seen dozens of protests, both pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel, since the October 7 attacks by Hamas on Israel and the country's deadly military response in the Gaza Strip.

Protesters locked themselves to tires, chairs and each other on the Brooklyn Bridge, which links the borough of the same name with the Manhattan financial district.

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"It's important because we need a ceasefire. It's important to disrupt day-to-day activity to show how important this is, to end the siege in Gaza," said protester Olivia Levine, 31, an actor and writer.

"Hopefully actions scale up. Day-to-day activity needs to be scaled up to secure a ceasefire and the end of occupation. This is just the start."

Dozens of police, some wielding bolt cutters and white plastic cable ties, encircled a group of detained protesters who were lined up on the bridge for processing.

A crowd who gathered in support of those who blocked the bridge's Brooklyn-bound lanes chanted "free, free Palestine," while some filmed police working to cut activists out of the devices used to anchor themselves to the road.

"All these pro-Palestinians are forgetting what Hamas did.... You can't expect Israel not to retaliate," said one passerby who declined to give her name. "(But) they're being made to suffer for what Hamas did."

Dozens of protesters were detained for blocking traffic at the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, which connects New York to neighbouring New Jersey, an AFP correspondent saw.

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Similar actions were staged at the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges that link Manhattan island to Brooklyn.

The protests came shortly after the morning rush hour and caused backed-up traffic across the city.

Police said the protests lasted just over an hour and had been cleared after 11am (1600 GMT), but did not confirm the number of arrests.

Three months into its war with Hamas militants, at least 23,084 people have been killed in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the territory's health ministry.

The October 7 attack by Hamas which triggered the war resulted in about 1,140 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.

Hamas, considered a "terrorist" group by the United States and European Union, also took around 250 hostages, 132 of whom remain captive, Israel says. At least 24 are believed to have been killed.

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