Pro-Palestinian protesters snarl Manhattan traffic and limit Grand Central access as they call for ceasefire Friday

Hundreds of pro-Palestinan protesters snarled Manhattan traffic and curtailed people’s access to Grand Central Terminal as they demonstrated in New York City on Friday night, in part demanding a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

Demonstrators, some waving Palestinian flags and holding signs with messages such as “Free Free Palestine” and “End the genocide,” gathered in Columbus Circle in the afternoon before marching to Manhattan’s east side, to the area around Times Square, and eventually to Grand Central.

The demonstrations temporarily closed access to the terminal, one of the city’s largest transportation hubs, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Metro-North Railroad said online Friday night.

Six people were arrested for disorderly conduct during mostly-peaceful demonstrations, according to a spokesperson for the New York Police Department.

The spokesperson said the NYPD did not have information about whether those arrested were served with a summons and released. The NYPD estimates about 2,000 people attended the demonstrations.

The Israel-Hamas war began last month after Hamas launched a series of attacks on Israeli communities and gatherings near Gaza on October 7 – attacks that Israel says it believes killed about 1,200 people. More than 11,000 Palestinians have died in subsequent Israeli attacks in Gaza, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah, based on figures from Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Pro-Palestinian protesters in New York on Thursday. - Fatih Aktas/Anadolu/Getty Images
Pro-Palestinian protesters in New York on Thursday. - Fatih Aktas/Anadolu/Getty Images

Amin Jaludi was one of the protesters who swarmed the streets Friday – the second straight day demonstrators in Manhattan called for an end to attacks on Gaza.

“It’s important for us to stand up for equal rights for all humans, and right now, we see a double standard going on between the Palestinians and the Israelis,” Jaludi told CNN. “What happened on October 7th was terrible, but it doesn’t justify killing 10,000-plus Palestinians.”

Jaludi and his children were born in the US and have no direct ties to the Palestinian territories, he said.

“I really have no ties to Palestine other than just basic … standing up for human rights, which that is what America is all about,” he said.

Video also showed police keeping demonstrators back from The New York Times building on Friday. One night earlier, several protesters occupied the building’s lobby, and some of them were arrested Thursday night, police said.

By 10 p.m. Friday, many of the protesters had left the Grand Central Terminal area while police officers remained for security reasons.

CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian, Zenebou Sylla, Matt Friedman and Skylar Harris contributed to this report.

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