Wave of pro-Palestinian protests closes bridges, major roads across U.S. (2024)

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators blocked roads, highways and bridges across the country on Monday, snarling traffic and sparking arrests from coast to coast in what some activists declared to be a coordinated day of economic blockade to push leaders for a cease-fire in Gaza.

The disruption appeared to span the country over several hours. Protesters in San Francisco parked vehicles on the Golden Gate Bridge, stopping traffic in both directions for four hours Monday morning, while hundreds of demonstrators blocked a highway in nearby Oakland, some by chaining themselves to drums of cement, California Highway Patrol representatives told The Washington Post. Some protesters headed toward a Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif., according to local TV station KRON4. In New York, dozens of protesters stopped traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge and held demonstrations on Wall Street, according to ABC7.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrations were also reported in Philadelphia, Chicago, Miami and San Antonio. Demonstrators’ targets ranged from major highways such as Interstate 5 in Eugene, Ore., to a countryside road leading to an aircraft engine manufacturer in Middletown, Conn.

Tensions over the war in Gaza, now in its seventh month, have roiled American cities, campuses and politics with protests held in support of both Palestinians and Israelis. The growing death toll and the catastrophic humanitarian conditions in Gaza have spurred different pro-Palestinian groups into a forceful protest movement, with demonstrators confronting the country’s top leadership: from President Biden, Vice President Harris to Cabinet secretaries and members of Congress. On Monday, the protesters targeted economic hubs and disrupted traffic.

They blocked roads leading to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, which warned travelers on social media to consider alternate forms of transportation, as car travel was “substantially delayed this morning due to protest activity.” A similar obstruction on the expressway leading to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington prompted travelers to take their luggage and cross roads on foot.

The protests that began in the morning in the Bay Area, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami, San Antonio, Eugene and Middletown had been cleared as of Monday evening, according to authorities and local news. Protesters had been cleared from the expressway to Sea-Tac Airport and the road was reopening, the airport announced about 6 p.m. local time. Police arrested dozens of people in several cities, but no significant violence had been reported as of Monday evening.

Protesters have stalled traffic, closed streets, disrupted daily life and interrupted events in major U.S. cities intermittently since the beginning of the Israel-Gaza war, but few have concurrently or consecutively affected travel in as many parts of the country as on Monday.

The protests, coinciding with Tax Day in the United States, were part of A15 Economic Blockade, a Palestinian international solidarity movement. “In each city, we will identify and blockade major choke points in the economy, focusing on points of production and circulation with the aim of causing the most economic impact,” its website said.


More than 40 cities autonomously participated in Monday’s call for action, Hay Sha Wiya, a Lakota organizer told The Washington Post, describing it as historic. “Today is proof that people are going to fight and keep escalating until there is a permanent cease-fire,” Wiya said.

Among the banners that protesters unfurled across the country’s highways were calls to “stop the world for Gaza” and for the United States to stop sending arms to Israel.

The Israel-Gaza war began shortly after Hamas militants attacked Israel, killed about 1,200 people and took hostages Oct. 7, according to Israeli authorities. At least 33,797 people have been killed and 76,465 injured in Gaza since the war began, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants but says the majority of the dead are women and children.


The United States has given more aid to Israel than any other country since World War II, The Post reported this month, and it may give more if Congress approves. It accounted for 69 percent of Israeli military’s total arms imports between 2019 and 2023, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

In a call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this month, President Biden pressed the Israeli leader to “address civilian harm, humanitarian suffering, and the safety of aid workers” in besieged Gaza, which has faced months of near-famine conditions and a lack of medical care.

Wave of pro-Palestinian protests closes bridges, major roads across U.S. (2024)


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