The Student News Site of Heschel School




325 People Arrested at Disruptive Pro-Palestine Protest

On Monday Jan. 8 at 9:30 a.m. pro-Palestine protesters halted traffic on the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg Bridges and blocked the entrance to the Holland Tunnel. Protesters also gathered at the Holland Tunnel around 9:30 a.m., with Palestinian flags and signs in hand. Written on the posters were popular slogans like: “Lift the Siege on Gaza” and “End the Occupation.” 

At the Holland Tunnel, demonstrators wore fluorescent vests and linked arms to block off traffic, redirecting cars away from the outbound ramp. Soon after, police warned protesters that they had two minutes to clear the area. When they refused, police arrested 120 protesters. Police also reported that many were chanting “Free Palestine” while on the ground with their hands tied. 

One demonstrator at the Brooklyn Bridge, Mon Mohapatra, 30, explained that among the protesters were people from various groups including the Palestinian Youth Movement, Al-Awda: The Palestinian Right to Return Coalition, Democratic Socialists of America, and Jewish Voice for Peace. She, and others, voiced that the protests were meant to emulate conditions in Gaza. 

“We are trying to show how it feels to be trapped in a city you can’t leave,” Ms. Mohapatra said.

Rachel Himes, another attendee, said, “In Gaza…people have limited mobility, no freedom of movement, they cannot leave, even if they want to, they move place to place, then those places are bombed…We wanted to create that condition temporarily in Manhattan.”

One protester there, David Shutkin, traveled all the way from Cleveland to attend. 

Shutkin said, “I’m a Jewish person and I believe the liberation of the Jewish people is tied up in the liberation of the Palestinian people.” 

Over on the Williamsburg Bridge, police used hand saws to cut through lengths of plastic piping and metal chains fashioned as a traffic barrier by protesters. 

Mayor Eric Adams shared that it took over two hours for traffic to reopen. He said, “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.” 

The NYPD’s Chief of Patrol said that 325 people were arrested during the protests and many will face misdemeanor charges and fines.

Leave a Comment
Donate to Helios

Your donation will support the student journalists of Heschel School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Helios

Comments (0)

All Helios Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *