More than two dozen pro-Palestinian protesters were arrested Wednesday morning after blocking traffic heading to Kennedy International Airport in New York City during one of the busiest tourist weeks of the year, according to the Police Department. of the Port Authority.
In total, 26 people were arrested on charges of disorderly conduct and impeding vehicle traffic, according to a police statement.
Police first responded to reports of protest activity outside the airport, along Van Wyck Highway, around 11:30 a.m., according to authorities, and the road was cleared 20 minutes later. According to police, the Port Authority sent two buses to the airport to offer transportation to travelers affected by the traffic jam.
During the demonstration, protesters held hands, forming a line that stretched along the road, and held signs with messages including “Divest from genocide,” “Let Gaza live,” and “Right to return.” . Behind them, bumper-to-bumper traffic stretched as far as the eye could see in all three lanes.
About an hour later and 2,500 miles to the west, pro-Palestinian protesters blocked traffic on West Century Boulevard near the entrance to Los Angeles International Airport. According to police, 35 people were arrested, most accused of rioting.
By mid-morning, crews were removing debris that protesters had placed across the road.
Since the war between Israel and Hamas broke out in October, there have been almost daily protests across the United States, including on college campuses, at the base of the Statue of Liberty and at Grand Central Terminal and other locations in New York City. York. In separate protests earlier this month, demonstrators blocked cars near the Los Angeles airport and on the 110 Freeway, snarling traffic downtown.
Just days before Wednesday's protests in New York City and Los Angeles, pro-Palestinian activists organized a similar demonstration in Chicago. A multi-vehicle caravan led by the Palestinian Community Network of America blocked roads leading to O'Hare International Airport, according to news reports.
Kevin Yamamura contributed with reports.
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