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Pro-Palestinian demonstrators march through Manhattan streets

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators march through NYC; Hamas hostage display erected
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators march through NYC; Hamas hostage display erected 02:11

NEW YORK -- A pro-Palestinian rally that started outside the New York Stock Exchange marched through Lower Manhattan on Thursday.

This happened while in Times Square, an installation was put up to remember the hostages taken from Israel.

Demonstrators participate in "Flood Wall Street for Gaza" rally

Organizers asked participants to "Flood Wall Street for Gaza."

The NYPD says at least 350 pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered on Wall Street around 5:30 p.m.

By 6:30 p.m., they started marching north, making their way to Foley Square, where Chopper 2 was over the burning of an American flag.

Watch Chopper 2 over the rally

Chopper 2 flies over large pro-Palestinian rally in Manhattan 10:30

A flyer for the rally called out several American companies that organizers say are making bombs being dropped in Gaza.

"I am a Muslim, and I support my Palestinian brothers and everything that's going on in the world right now," one demonstrator said.

"The reason why people are fighting -- do you think these people are crazy? Like, these people-- There's a reason for it. There's a reason why after one incident that happened on October 7th, these are the lives that every day for the Palestinians for the past 75 years," another demonstrator said.

Things got heated at one point on Nassau Street when a community affairs officer had to get between a group with flyers of kidnapped Israelis and the supporters of the Palestinian people.

Multiple units from the NYPD followed the protesters throughout the city, including the Counterterrorism Bureau, as well as officers on motorcycles. The NYPD said there were no arrests.

"The Palestinians have been facing year after year after year of persecution," one demonstrator said.

Eventually, the group gathered at Washington Square Park and then dispersed. 

Installation drawing attention to hostages held by Hamas on display in Times Square

Separately, in Times Square, the Israeli-American Council put up an installation of an empty Shabbat table with 222 empty seats representing the hostages taken from Israel that are still held captive by the terrorist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Organizers say more seats will be added, as they believe the hostage numbers are rising.

Families of hostages spoke out.

"We're in a constant state of anxiety and depression. I don't think there's any other way to characterize it. We're wondering... There's little to no information. We don't know if they're alive. We have to hold hope, and it's been the horror of all horrors," said Nave Strauss.

"It's very difficult. I'm very close to my family in Israel," Geula Strauss said.

The installation has traveled the country to generate public pressure to free the hostages. The Israel Consulate in New York says at least 32 of the hostages are under the age of 18.

NYU students hold pro-Israel rally in Washington Square Park

Elsewhere Thursday, there were more protests near colleges and universities in our area. New York University students and alumni held a pro-Israel rally in Washington Square Park, where demonstrators called for the immediate release of the hostages.

NYU students hold pro-Israel rally in Washington Square Park 00:22

Former mayor Bill de Blasio and Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine turned out in support.

We're told there will be another pro-Israel protest Friday afternoon in the park.

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