Dozens of protesters seen being arrested by police as authorities announce temporary closure of station.
Hundreds of protesters have gathered on the main concourse of New York’s Grand Central Station, one of the city’s major transport hubs, demanding a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
The protesters, wearing black T-shirts reading ‘Ceasefire now’ and ‘Not in our name’, unfurled banners calling for freedom for Palestinians and an end to the bombardment of Gaza.
“No more weapons. No more war. Ceasefire is what we’re fighting for,” they chanted, punching the air.
Banners were hung from the concourse’s sweeping staircase, and across the departures board.
“Mourn the dead, and fight like hell for the living,” read one.
Police arrested dozens of the protesters as they poured out of the station and onto 42nd Street in midtown Manhattan after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced the temporary closure of the station and asked commuters to look for alternative routes.
The group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), which organised the demonstration, posted photos and videos showing police in the station alongside dozens of protesters whose arms had been tied behind their backs.
JVP said thousands had taken part in what it described as an “emergency sit-in”.
“HUNDREDS OF JEWS AND ALLIES ARE GETTING ARRESTED IN WHAT IS LIKELY THE BIGGEST MASS CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE NYC HAS SEEN IN TWO DECADES,” the group wrote in a post on Instagram.
— Nora Lester Murad (@NoraInPalestine) October 27, 2023
A very long line of Jews in cuffs going into a very long line of NYPD commandeered buses after taking over Grand Central Station for Gaza #CeasefireNOW @jvplive @IfNotNowOrg @JFREJNYC pic.twitter.com/XyUg8j6EXX
— Rafael Shimunov (@rafaelshimunov) October 28, 2023
The rally in New York came hours after Israel said its military was stepping up its air and ground attacks on the besieged Palestinian enclave of Gaza.
Hamas, the Palestinian armed group that rules Gaza, said its fighters were ready to confront Israeli attacks with “full force”.