New York: Thousands of air travelers faced inconvenience and delay on Wednesday as pro-Palestine protesters staged demonstrations on the roads leading to the airports in New York and Los Angeles, two of the busiest cities in the US. The protesters were expressing their solidarity with the Palestinians and their opposition to the Israel-Hamas conflict, which has claimed hundreds of lives in the past few weeks.
The protests coincided with the holiday season in the US when many people travel by air to visit their families and friends. The airports were already crowded with passengers, and the protests added to the chaos and confusion. The protesters held banners and placards that read ‘Stop the Israel-Hamas war’, ‘Free Palestine’, and ‘End the occupation’. They also chanted slogans and waved Palestinian flags.
In New York, the protesters blocked the Van Wyck Expressway, which connects to the John F. Kennedy International Airport, for about 20 minutes. They also obstructed the traffic on the Grand Central Parkway, which leads to the LaGuardia Airport. Some passengers had to get out of their vehicles and walk to the airport with their luggage. Some videos of the protests were shared on social media, showing the extent of the disruption. One passenger, who was on her way to JFK airport, said she was “sorry about what is happening in another country”, but she also hoped to catch her flight on time.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the airports, said that 26 protesters were arrested by the police. The agency also said that it dispatched two buses to transport the passengers from the expressway to the airport terminal. Steve Burns, a spokesman for the agency, said that the protests did not affect the airport operations, but they caused inconvenience to the travelers.
In Los Angeles, the protesters blocked Century Boulevard, which is the main road to the Los Angeles International Airport. The police department said that the traffic around the airport was affected for two hours, and advised the travelers to use alternative routes. The police also said that the demonstration was illegal and violated the city’s ordinance. The protesters dispersed when the police arrived at the scene. It is not clear how many protesters were arrested or cited by the police.
The protests in New York and Los Angeles were part of a series of demonstrations that have taken place across the US and the world in support of the Palestinian cause. The protesters have demanded that the US government stop its military aid to Israel and pressure it to end the occupation and the blockade of Gaza. They have also called for a peaceful and just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on international law and human rights.
New York Mayor Eric Adams, who is also the Democratic nominee for the upcoming mayoral election, condemned the protests and said that they were unacceptable and dangerous. He said that the protesters had no right to disrupt the traffic and endanger public safety. He also said that the police need to be more vigilant and prevent such incidents from happening again. He said that he supports the right to peaceful protest, but he also respects the law and order. He said that he stands with the people of Israel and Palestine, and hopes for a lasting peace in the region.