On a recent Sunday afternoon, New York City was the backdrop for a significant Pro-Palestinian demonstration. Activists gathered at the base of the Manhattan Bridge, their protest causing temporary traffic disruption.
Voices raised in unison, they urged for a cessation of the conflict between Israel and Hamas. Adorned with shirts proudly declaring ‘Cease Fire Now,’ the crowd made their demand for peace very clear.
Demonstrators, numbering in the hundreds, positioned themselves on the bustling East River overpass. Ensconced amidst the noise of traffic, they offered a unified show of defiance, arms held aloft with closed fists, simultaneously crying out ‘Let Gaza Live.’ Their shirts served as non-verbal megaphones, echoing their call for conflict cessation and adding a visual element to the ongoing protest.
The protestors didn’t limit their demands to an end of hostilities. They also urged President Joe Biden to reconsider his support for the Israeli military campaign.
The protestors were resolute, urging the US government to not only withdraw its backing from Israel’s military agenda but also to apply pressure to Israel’s leadership, insisting they cease their offensive in Gaza.
The protest resulted in a few arrests, with one woman and two men taken into custody according to local law enforcement. One man was spotted leaving his mark in support of the protest by spray painting ‘Gaza’ on a support column underneath the bridge. Despite this isolated incident, the protest remained largely non-violent in nature.
Despite the protesters’ conviction that their cause was widely supported, the city’s daily commuters found the unexpected traffic jam a source of frustration. Many New Yorkers, irrespective of their stance on the conflict, expressed their annoyance at the travel disruption caused by the protest.
Some protestors resorted to mild forms of vandalism, a point of concern for onlookers. One woman was observed promoting the protest’s cause through unsanctioned artistry, spray painting the bridge to further communicate the demands of the protestors.
Pam Allen, a city-dwelling fashion model en route to an event in Brooklyn, vocalized her discontent. She underscored her inherent support for peace, but decried the protest’s disruption of her travel routine. According to her, despite understanding the protestors’ message, the practical implications of the bridge blockade were an unnecessary complication.
She was not alone in her sentiments. Another van driver grumbled about his impeded commute back home after a grueling night shift. His ordinary day was disrupted by the protestors, fueling his irritation despite potentially sympathizing with their cause.
In a coinciding demonstration on Long Island, a robust group of protestors assembled outside a popular donut chain in Hicksville, before making their way to the Northrop Grumman offices. Standing as a symbol for military involvement in Gaza, the defense contractor became a target for the protestors’ disapproval of the ongoing conflict.
Noura Farouk, a representative from the group ‘Mothers For Justice,’ spoke to the crowd using a megaphone from the back of a pickup truck. She underscored the tragic number of women and children among the casualties in Gaza, reinforcing the gathering’s demands for an end to the conflict.
The protestors in Long Island, like their counterparts in Manhattan, sought the Biden administration’s reconsideration of its military backing for Israel. Their chants aimed at Northrop Grumman were considerably more pointed: ‘Northrop Grumman, you can’t hide – we charge you with Genocide.’
Rosy Islam, one of the protestors, described the choice to target the defense contractor as ‘symbolic’. She expressed her ambition to remind all Long Islanders of their shared human responsibility to stand up against violence and support peace.
The protest also embraced diversity in its supporters. Yitzak Deutsch, a member of New York’s Orthodox Jewish community, was among the protestors. He distinguished himself by emphasizing the discrepancy between his religious beliefs, Judaism, and the political doctrine of Zionism. In his view, the current acts of violence being justified in the name of his religion were unacceptable. His participation underlined his strong belief that Judaism should not be used to rationalize such violent actions or political aggression.