Pro-Hamas protests continued in New York City last week, with protesters halting traffic on the Manhattan Bridge last weekend and attempting to disrupt the Christmas tree-lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center later in the week.
The protest, organized by anti-Israel activists, descended on Manhattan Bridge at about 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 26, snarling traffic for several hours.
For about an hour, drivers were left stranded as protesters blocked the Manhattan side entrance to the bridge that connects lower Manhattan to downtown Brooklyn. A large contingent of NYPD officers deployed at the bridge diverted vehicles away from the area as the demonstrators hung a pro-Hamas banner on the bridge overlooking the East River.
By around 3:00 p.m., the protesters blocked the entrance ramp by sitting under the grand arch and colonnade near the Bowery. One protester hung a Palestinian flag from the stone façade of the arch while protesters changed “Let Gaza live.”
At about 5:30 p.m., the bridge was cleared and traffic resumed.
The pro-Hamas protesters also planned a demonstration to disrupt the annual tree-lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center last Wednesday.
Over 1,000 protesters gathered a few blocks away in what was supposed to be a “peaceful” protest. However, the scene quickly grew ugly after a fight broke out among the demonstrators over one protester holding up a sign with a swastika on it.
The NYPD, who was out in force in anticipation of the demonstration, attempted to keep the protesters contained by erecting barricades and forming police lines. However, the protesters broke through the barricades and began marching toward Rockefeller Center while police tried to maintain control.
Eventually, fights broke out between the protesters and the police.
CBS News reported that one protester was arrested and charged with felony criminal mischief. Another six protesters were detained and given desk issue tickets. One of those, a 15-year-old, also received a juvenile report.
Despite the fracas, the NYPD said the protests did not disrupt the tree-lighting ceremony which went on as scheduled.