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New York police arrest hundreds after anti-war protest at Grand Central

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New York’s Grand Central Station became the focal point of a passionate anti-war protest, resulting in the arrest of hundreds of demonstrators. The protesters, adorned in black T-shirts bearing the slogans ‘Ceasefire now’ and ‘Not in our name,’ engaged in a sit-in on the main concourse. Their primary demand was an immediate ceasefire in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Chanting in unison, the demonstrators voiced their unequivocal message: “No more weapons. No more war. Ceasefire is what we’re fighting for.” Banners proclaiming solidarity with the Palestinian cause and an end to the bombardment of Gaza were unfurled, adorning the concourse’s sweeping staircase and even draping across the departures board. One banner poignantly read, “Mourn the dead, and fight like hell for the living.”

The New York Police Department responded swiftly, with authorities confirming the arrest of at least 200 protesters. This large-scale demonstration led to a temporary closure of the bustling transportation hub. However, the organizing group, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), reported an even higher number of arrests, exceeding 300.

Images and videos from the scene depicted law enforcement officers in the midst of the protesters, many with their arms bound behind their backs. JVP characterized the event as an “emergency sit-in” with thousands of participants, going so far as to declare it “the biggest mass civil disobedience NYC has seen in two decades” in an Instagram post.

The event commenced with a powerful symbol of unity as Rabbis lit Shabbat candles and recited the Jewish prayer for the dead, known as the kaddish. Rabbi May Ye, speaking on behalf of the organizers, expressed the urgency of their mission, stating, “While Shabbat is typically a day of rest, we cannot afford to rest while genocide is unfolding in our names. The lives of Palestinians and Israelis are intertwined, and safety can only come from justice, equality, and freedom for all.”

The timing of this protest was significant, occurring shortly after Israel announced an escalation of air and ground attacks on the besieged Palestinian enclave of Gaza, along with the disruption of communication networks. This upsurge in violence was triggered by a surprise assault by Hamas on Israel on October 7, which resulted in casualties on both sides.

In response, Israel declared war and initiated an intensive bombardment of Gaza, a region inhabited by approximately 2.3 million people. The toll of this conflict has been devastating, with at least 7,326 Palestinians losing their lives in the ongoing attacks.

This protest in New York City is a powerful reminder of the international concern surrounding the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, with demonstrators demanding an end to the violence and a peaceful resolution to the crisis. The situation remains highly dynamic, and we will continue to report on developments as they unfold.

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