Several arrested after pro-Palestinian protesters crowd Midtown on Christmas Day

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, December 26, 2023
Pro-Palestinian protest in Manhattan leads to arrests
Janice Yu has the details.

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- A pro-Palestinian demonstration on Christmas Day led to several arrests.

Six people were arrested as part of a protest of hundreds marching through Midtown chanting "Christmas is canceled here."

Police say some of the protesters clashed with officers near Grand Central Terminal and Union Square, leading to six arrests for menacing officer, graffiti and disorderly conduct.

The protesters started on Sixth Avenue at around 2 p.m. and then circled the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, which is surrounded by barricades.

Police kept protesters on the outskirts of the tree area before they headed to Grand Central Terminal and Union Square.

Several carried a "No Joy In Genocide" nativity scene on their shoulders, splattered in fake blood. Many waved Palestinian flags.

Of the six arrested, one was charged with menacing an officer, one was issued a criminal court summons for graffiti and four others were issued desk appearance tickets for disorderly conduct.

It was one of a series of protests timed to Christmas.

Organizers posted a call for action online as Christmas services in Bethlehem were suspended because of the war.

Mayor Eric Adams said the city expects the same type of attempt to disrupt New Year's Eve festivities.

"We are going to use technology a lot this year," he said Tuesday. "There is always a serious concern around safety in New Year's Eve, because there is a large number of people, everyone looks for events like this if they want to do bad things."

While he is in favor of New Yorkers' right to protest, Adams says he does not agree with some of the methods.

"I don't believe people should be able to take over our streets. I don't believe people should be able to take over our bridges. I just don't believe you can run a city this complex where people can just do whatever they want," he said.

"All you need is a small pocket of protesters like you saw yesterday that can disrupt a peaceful protest," he added.

Video posted on Citizen App showed protestors marching along Fifth Avenue with flags and signage.

One officer was hurt during the protest, police say.

This all arrived as the fighting in Gaza remains as intense as ever. At least 17 Israelis were killed over the weekend, and the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry says at least 70 people were killed in one of the deadliest air strikes for civilians since the war began.

Egypt is now proposing a new ceasefire plan, which would involve forming a new Palestinian government in Gaza and freeing hostages.

Hamas did not officially react to the proposal. But it is unclear if Hamas would agree to relinquish power after controlling Gaza for the past 16 years.

As the fighting continues, more than a hundred hostages remain in Hamas custody.

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AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File


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