Statue vandalized, US flag burned in Pro-Palestinian protest on Upper East Side

ByLindsay Tuchman, Eyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, May 7, 2024
27 arrested in Pro-Palestine protest on the Upper East Side
Lindsay Tuchman has the latest developments.

UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- Nearly 30 pro-Palestinian protesters were arrested during demonstrations on the Upper East Side Monday night.

The chaos included vandalism of a World War I statue and even the burning of an American flag.

The bronze sculpture, a memorial to members of the 107th infantry who died during WWI, was covered with spray-painted words like "Gaza" and "Free Palestine."

"These memorials mean a lot to our city. To vandalize it, in some of these actions, these anti-American actions, it bothers me. And I'm just not going to sit back and act like it's not wrong," Mayor Eric Adams said.

This happened just over 10 blocks south of where protests converged Monday evening near the Met Gala.

According to the NYPD, a total of 27 people were arrested as pro-Palestinian protests marched throughout the Upper East Side.

One woman was charged with assaulting police officers, five others received desk appearance tickets and 21 got summonsed for disorderly conduct.

The mayor is personally putting up a $5,000 reward for arrests in connection to the 107th Infantry Memorial statue vandalism. That is in addition to a $10,000 reward from Crime Stoppers.

"I'm not just putting my money where my mouth is, I'm going to put it where my heart is," Adams said.

It appears several planned protests from Hunter College, Columbia University, and another group within the park marched toward the Metropolitan Museum of Art and were seen pushing against barricades. Police managed to stop many from breaching the large event.

After being blocked, some Pro-Palestinian protesters made their way to 67th Street. Some people climbed and vandalized the statue and one person was even seen burning an American flag.

Police reviewed the video and Mayor Adams had strong words for any protester using the U.S. flag as a protest tool.

"This is our flag. This is our flag. It's not merely just a piece of cloth. It is not merely just a symbol. It is who we are, it is what we represent," Mayor Adams said.

Another nearby statue in Central Park's Grand Army Plaza was vandalized Monday night. That's where the protest eventually broke up and dispersed.

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