Pro-Hamas protesters exploited the post-Christmas travel rush to block the entrance roads to airports in both Los Angeles and New York last week, causing traffic jams and delaying travelers on their way to make flights, the Associated Press reported.
Protesters blocked cars on the outskirts of JFK International Airport in New York, forcing some travelers to make their way on foot to bypass the traffic jams. Similar tactics were deployed near Los Angeles International Airport.
In total, 62 people were arrested due to the protests.
In New York, protesters brought traffic to a standstill on the Van Wyck Expressway leading to JFK for about 20 minutes. Video of the protest showed travelers, some lugging suitcases, climbing out of vehicles, and crossing barriers onto the median to walk the rest of the way to the airport.
New York police arrested 26 people for disorderly conduct and impeding traffic. Port Authority sent two buses to assist travelers caught in the traffic jam.
In Los Angeles, a major thoroughfare to LAX was blocked by protesters who dragged garbage bins, traffic cones, debris, and scooters onto the roadway to stop traffic.
The Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement that a police officer had been thrown to the ground and protesters were attacking drivers in their vehicles.
When officers arrived at the scene, some protesters appeared to flee. However, the LAPD said traffic around LAX remained snarled for about two hours after the protest was declared unlawful.
The LAPD said that 35 people were arrested for rioting and another protester was arrested for battery of an officer.
During a press conference the day before, New York City Mayor Eric Adams blasted some of the tactics used by pro-Hamas protesters and suggested that the NYPD may need to increase their response.
Adams argued that protesters should not be permitted to block roadways or bridges, insisting that people shouldn’t be allowed to “do whatever they want” in a city as complex as New York.