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Pro-Palestinian Demonstrators Block Traffic At Chicago O’Hare Airport And Golden Gate Bridge

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Topline

Protesters shut down traffic in both directions on the Golden Gate Bridge on Monday, joining protesters across the country to stop traffic for hours to draw attention to U.S. taxpayer funds being used for military aid for Israel’s ongoing war with Hamas in Gaza—on the same day federal income tax returns were due.

Key Facts

Multiple protests across cities including Chicago, San Francisco and Philadelphia were organized independently and coordinated by A-15 Action, a group formed to plan the multi-city protest on Tax Day.

The California Highway Patrol confirmed both directions on the Golden Gate Bridge were shut down around 7:30 a.m. local time, and warned drivers there was “no timeline for reopening.”

Protesters in Chicago demonstrated on I-90 and I-294 around 7 a.m. Central Time, and shut down traffic on I-190 at the entrance to O’Hare International Airport.

The entrance to O’Hare was reopened around 9:15 a.m., and a total of 31 protesters were arrested and taken into custody, the Chicago protest’s organizers told Forbes.

According to a statement from Chicago Dissenters sent to Forbes, the protest was coordinated to disrupt and blockade “major logistical hubs, resulting in an interruption of capital flow and leading to a significant economic impact in major choke points of the economy.”

The Chicago protesters said they were specifically protesting Boeing, which is headquartered in Chicago, and manufactures arms and military vehicles used by the Israeli Defense Force, including Apache attack helicopters and small diameter bombs.

News Peg

Other protests took place across the country on Monday. In the East Bay, about 15 protesters simultaneously stopped traffic in both directions on I-880 in Oakland, CBS News Bay Area reported, but the highway was reopened by 11 a.m. Pacific Time. In Philadelphia, protesters gathered in Center City to demonstrate at the Internal Revenue Service building, holding banners protesting their tax dollars going to military aid for Israel, while another group drove a funeral procession for victims in Gaza to slow down traffic on I-95, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Protesters also blocked the entranceway to Valero Energy in San Antonio for hours, local station KSAT-12 reported, while others shut down the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge in New York’s Hudson Valley—backing up traffic for about two hours during the morning commute, News12 reported. Other international protests also took place, including a large protest in Melbourne that saw about 200 demonstrators block roads in the city, Australia’s ABC News reported.

Surprising Fact

Some commuters at O’Hare reportedly left their vehicles and walked from the highway into the terminal in order to make their flights. “Travelers were forced to walk to the terminal from their vehicles, but many were showing support for the protesters while doing so,” said Peyton Wilson, a spokesperson for Chicago Dissenters, the organization that coordinated Monday’s protest in the area. One traveler told the Associated Press she “ran and speed walked” over a mile with her luggage in order to make it to her flight.

Key Background

Israel’s ongoing war with Hamas in Gaza has led to protests across the country, many opposing the Biden administration’s policies and continued support for Israel. About one month after the war began, thousands of protesters took to the streets in Washington, D.C. to demand an immediate cease-fire. Other protests have led to hundreds of arrests. In October, over 300 people were arrested in the U.S. Capitol building at a protest organized by Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow, two American Jewish groups opposed to the ongoing war. Other dissenters have directly targeted the Biden administration, and showed their disapproval by organizing protest votes in various Democratic presidential primaries across the country. In Michigan, the state home to the largest Arab-American population, organizers got over 100,000 voters, including a majority of voters in the city of Dearborn, to vote “uncommitted” on their primary ballots.

Further Reading

ForbesThousands Descend On Washington For Gaza Cease-Fire Rally (Photos)ForbesProtesters Of Israel-Hamas War Enter Congressional Building - Leading To More Than 300 Arrests
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