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More than 300 people in custody after pro-Palestinian rally blocks Holland Tunnel, Brooklyn & Manhattan bridges, police say

More than 300 people in custody after pro-Palestinian rally blocks NYC tunnels, bridges
More than 300 people in custody after pro-Palestinian rally blocks NYC tunnels, bridges 02:06

NEW YORK -- Pro-Palestinian demonstrators calling for a cease-fire in Gaza brought traffic to a standstill Monday, with thousands blocking bridges and tunnels connecting Manhattan to the rest of the city.

CBS New York spoke with demonstrators, who said they're willing to be arrested to make their voices heard.

From the Brooklyn Bridge to the Manhattan Bridge and the Holland Tunnel, thousands of demonstrators blocked traffic in and out of Manhattan starting at around 9:45 a.m.

It was the biggest demonstration seen in New York City over the last couple of months. When asked what message it sends, actress and advocate Susan Sarandon said, "Well, I think as the violence escalates we have to make our message known and it's not coming from the top, so the people are sending the message."

"By blocking traffic in Manhattan today we create an imperfect analogy for what Gazans are experiencing," demonstrator Erick Stoll said.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators blocked vehicle access to the Brooklyn Bridge on Jan. 8, 2024.

Sunday marked three months since Hamas attacked Israel and Israel invaded Gaza in response. Monday's demonstration served as a reminder that escalating tensions overseas are just as high at home.

"What happened to love and peace? How is this going to free Palestine? How is blocking the tunnel going to free Palestine? This is [expletive]," one pro-Israel demonstrator said. "It's really sad because a lot of people don't know what they're talking about."

"I'm an anti-Zionist Jew and I know from my history of being Jewish and the history of the Holocaust, that we will not allow this to happen again," another demonstrator added. "When we say never again, we mean never again for everyone."

Hundreds of NYPD officers mobilized to the tunnel and bridges and arrested hundreds of demonstrators. Some, who had chained themselves together for maximum impact, were freed by a buzz saw before being put in handcuffs.

"The right to protest does not give one the right to block bridges and tunnels," Mayor Eric Adams said.

Demonstrators told CBS New York they plan to continue escalating their displays of disapproval until a complete cease-fire is enacted in Gaza.

The NYPD and Port Authority Police said a combined total of 325 demonstrators were taken into custody Monday.

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