Pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Los Angeles and New York blocked roads leading to two of the busiest airports in the world Wednesday, disrupting holiday travel to call attention to Israel’s attacks on Gaza.
Protesters used barriers and their bodies to stop traffic on busy roads to Los Angeles International Airport and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, holding up signs calling on the United States, which provides significant military aid to Israel, to “divest from genocide” amid strikes on the Palestinian territory.
Videos of the demonstrations were widely shared on social media, showing police eventually handcuffing participants and dispersing the protests. According to local news reports, police arrested around 35 people in Los Angeles and 26 in New York.
At JFK Airport, footage showed travelers getting out of blocked cars and walking down the road to catch their flights in one of the year’s busiest travel weeks.
Protests over Israel’s war against Hamas, the militant group whose Oct. 7 attack on the country killed around 1,200 people, have ramped up across the world as Israel aggressively retaliates, killing over 20,000 Palestinians in Gaza. In the U.S., protesters have disrupted major holiday events, including the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.
New York Mayor Eric Adams said on Tuesday that the city is preparing for demonstrations to potentially impact the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square ― an event that draws around 1 million people annually.
“We’re sure that there’s going to be some type of attempt this year,” Adams said of potential protesting.
Wednesday’s airport backup comes days after the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution aiming to increase humanitarian aid for Gaza despite intense resistance from the U.S.