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Protesters block traffic in Philadelphia to call for permanent cease-fire in Gaza

Protesters block traffic in Philly to call for permanent cease-fire in Gaza
Protesters block traffic in Philly to call for permanent cease-fire in Gaza 02:26

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A protest calling for a permanent cease-fire in Gaza ended after the group blocked traffic on I-76 westbound and the Spring Garden Street Bridge in Philadelphia on Thursday evening. The protest, which involved roughly 150 people, lasted about three hours. 

Initially, the protesters, organized by the group Jewish Voice for Peace, blocked traffic on I-76 right before rush hour traffic. 

Interim Philadelphia Police Commissioner John Stanford said the protesters drove in cars to get on the highway, got out of them and blocked traffic. 


Stanford said city officers assisted Pennsylvania State Police in arresting roughly 32 people who were blocking the highway. He added the protesters will be cited for blocking I-76. 

One protester said blocking the highway was necessary to get their message across. 

"I understand that it can be a challenge and I also think that our life needs to be disrupted. I hope the people on 76 can understand that demanding a cease-fire, that calling attention in every way that we can to the horrific situation in Gaza makes being stuck in traffic look not that important," a woman said.

"I am a father and I am Jewish and I would much rather be home right now with my son celebrating the 8th day of Hanukkah, but I know there are fathers in Gaza that will never get to celebrate another holiday with their children," said Jacob Winterstein, who attended the protest.

After being removed from I-76, the group of protesters held a sit-in on the Spring Garden Street Bridge right above the highway. The group chanted, sang and held signs that said "Let Gaza Live" and "Cease Fire Now." The protest concluded after the group marched to the Art Museum steps.

Police said the protest was peaceful and they were monitoring the situation to make sure it didn't escalate.

"It's our responsibility to make sure they do it in a peaceful and as safe as possible way," Stanford said.

The protest caused traffic backups on I-76 near the Art Museum.

Jewish Voice for Peace held a sit-in at 30th Street Station on Nov. 2, causing delays for commuters and Amtrak riders.

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