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Pro-Palestinian protesters block road, cause delays near Chicago's O'Hare Airport

Pro-Palestinian protests cause traffic back ups near major Chicago airport
Pro-Palestinian protests cause traffic back ups near major Chicago airport 02:07

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Traffic was returning to normal on the Kennedy Expressway late Monday morning, after pro-Palestinian protesters blocked the I-190 access road to O'Hare International Airport.

Several protest groups shared videos on Instagram showing a group of people sitting with their arms interlocked on the Interstate 190 access road between the Kennedy Expressway and O'Hare, blocking all lanes of traffic headed to the airport. 

The protest began around 8 a.m., and dozens of police cars and other emergency vehicles then blocked I-190 as police tried to contain the protest groups blocking traffic. Aviation officials said traffic had resumed by around 9:15 a.m.   

Protesters were wearing signs reading "Free Palestine" and "Stop Genocide." Organizers said they were seeking to disrupt Boeing's operations, because the company sells weapons to Israel, and to demand an end to the U.S. government's arming of Israel.

"On this Tax Day, when millions are paying taxes which fund the ongoing U.S and Israeli bombardment of Gaza, protestors seek to take dramatic action," the group Chicago Dissenters wrote in an Instagram post. "O'Hare International Airport is one of the largest in the country, and there will be NO business as usual while Palestinians suffer at the hands of American funded bombing by Israel."

Pro-Palestinian protestors march down streets of downtown Chicago 00:37

Other videos shared by protesters showed people getting out of their cars on I-190 and walking to O'Hare with their luggage while the road to the airport was blocked.

A passenger who arrived at O'Hare during the protest shared video from outside the terminals, showing dozens of people waiting on the curb, with no cars or shuttle buses able to drop off or pick up waiting travelers.

Nancy and John Ionoff planned ahead after hearing about the protest. They opted to take the Blue Line to make it for their flight back home to Tampa on Monday.

"We thought let's just try the train because we're not gonna have a problem with the train," Nancy Ionoff said, adding that it turned out to be a good decision.

Lorenna Lerohl said she and her son missed their 11 a.m. flight to Panama, "and my next flight now, I just got rebooked at 5:45, which puts me seven hours in an airport with an infant."

Pro-Palestinian protesters block road, cause delays near Chicago's O'Hare Airport 02:10

Renee Kosteen was in the same boat. She missed her flight to California.

"If you inconvenience other people and you make them suffer in any way, it's not a way to get people on your side," she said.

Chicago police said they arrested 40 people in total ranging in age from 19 to 43.

Early on Monday evening, another pro-Palestinian protest was held in the area of Federal Plaza downtown. Protesters blocked the intersection of Clark and Adams streets, and worked their way west to LaSalle Street, as they held signs and flags to support Gaza.

A total of 14 people were arrested in the downtown protest.

Similar protests were also held in other cities on Monday as part of what organizers dubbed an "economic blockade for a free Palestine."

A group of protesters completely blocked traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge connecting San Francisco to Marin County in California.

Protesters also blocked all northbound lanes of Interstate 880 in Oakland, California. 

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