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HomeNewsNYC Police Arrest Over 300 Pro-Palestinian Protesters for Blocking Traffic

NYC Police Arrest Over 300 Pro-Palestinian Protesters for Blocking Traffic

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Pro-Palestinian supporters in New York
Source: @ahnouch_hassana

Undoubtedly, the First Amendment gives Americans the right to express their grievances through protests. However, this legal entitlement ends where other people’s rights to freedom of movement begin. Hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters in New York learned this the hard way on Monday, January 8, when they were arrested for blocking traffic during their demonstrations.

According to John Chell, the NYPD Chief of Patrol, the New York Police Department and the Port Authority rounded up 325 persons at four locations. While about 120 of them were arrested for blocking the entrances to the Holland Tunnel. Others were apprehended at three East River Bridges (the Brooklyn Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge, and Manhattan Bridge). They had started blocking the routes by 9:40 am.

In an X (former Twitter) post, Chell revealed, “In lieu of summons, many protestors will face misdemeanor charges with a desk appearance ticket.” Written by police officers, a Desk Appearance Ticket (D.A.T.) gives arrestees directions to appear in a criminal court for arraignment.

Since the demonstrators restricted themselves to the lower level of the Manhattan Bridge, the upper level still allowed free traffic flow. However, the other affected locations were reopened not long after the incident.

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Pro-Palestinian protests have broken out in different parts of the country, calling for a cease-fire from Israeli forces. The demonstrators are worried about Israel’s continued ground invasion of Palestine, which has led to the displacement of thousands of Palestinians and killed about 23,000 of them. 

“Lift the siege on Gaza” and “End the occupation” were some of the words written on their placard during Monday’s protest. Videos circulating online also show them chanting “Free Palestine.”

New York’s mayor, Eric Adams, has commented on the situation. According to him, he’s in support of the pro-Palestinians’ rights to protest. However, he clarified that the demonstrations must be done without blocking bridges and traffic.

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“The goal is to peacefully protest without doing major disruption to the city. Some people are not just driving to and from, across our bridges to go to their place of employment, some of them are dealing with some real emergency-type issues,” Adams said. “I have been extremely clear: It gives us all pain to see innocent lives being lost right now. We need to do whatever is possible to end anything that is going to take the lives of innocent people, but Hamas must be destroyed, they are a terrorist organization,” he added.

President Biden has also made remarks on the national level following a series of similar pro-Palestinian protests. In his words, “I understand their passion. And I’ve been quietly working with the Israeli government to get them to reduce and significantly get out of Gaza.”

ALSO READ: Loudoun County Students Protest Against Bathroom and Locker Room Policy

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The demonstrators protested at Los Angeles International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport on December 27. They had also interrupted President Biden’s speech at Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina on the same Monday as the New York City protests.

Do you believe road blockages and traffic disruptions are necessary to ensure their voices are heard? Or are you of the opinion that their actions are an overkill? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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