Pro-Palestinian demonstrators shut down airport highways and key bridges in major US cities

Pro-Palestinian protesters blocked roads in Illinois, California and New York on Monday. They temporarily halted travel to some of America’s busiest airports, the Golden Gate, Brooklyn and West Coast highways.

Rifqa Flaneh, an organizer, said that protesters in Chicago blocked the lanes leading to O’Hare International Airport at 7 a.m., as part of a “global economic blockade” to free Palestine.

Traffic in the San Francisco Bay Area slowed down for several hours after demonstrators blocked all traffic, including vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists on the Golden Gate Bridge. They also chained themselves onto 55-gallon cement drums across Interstate 880 from Oakland. The Brooklyn Bridge was blocked by protesters marching from Brooklyn to Manhattan. Protesters in Eugene, Oregon blocked Interstate 5 for 45 minutes, causing traffic to be halted.

The protesters claim that they chose O’Hare partly because it was one of the biggest airports. They’ve also called for an urgent cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.


Since Hamas’ attack on southern Israel, which killed approximately 1,200 people, protesters against war have been demonstrating in Chicago almost daily. Since then, Israeli warplanes have conducted a scorched earth campaign in the Gaza Strip.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, Israel’s offensive has resulted in more than 33 700 Palestinian deaths. According to the Gaza health ministry, it does not distinguish between combatants and civilians when counting but women and children account for two-thirds.

O’Hare advised travelers to use alternative transportation methods on the social platform X, as car travel was “substantially slowed this morning due protest activity.”

Some travelers who were stuck in traffic jams walked to the airport, dragging their luggage along with them.

Madeline Hannan, a suburban Chicago resident, was one of them. Her car, which she and her husband were in for a business trip to Florida from O’Hare, stalled out for more than 20 minutes. She “both speed walked and ran” for more than a half-mile (1.6 kilometers). She claimed to have made it on time but only just.

In a phone interview, she described the situation as “uncomfortable.” She was in Florida. “But, in the scheme of things happening overseas, this is a minor inconvenience.”

According to the Chicago Department of Aviation, while individual travelers may be affected, the operations at the airport appear near normal, with delays of less than 15 minutes.

Around 9 am, inbound traffic to O’Hare Airport resumed.

Washington State Department of Transportation reported that a demonstration near Seattle had closed the main road leading to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Social media showed people standing on the highway waving Palestinian flags and holding a banner. The road reopened three hours later.

According to the California Highway Patrol, about 20 protesters have been arrested during the Golden Gate Bridge demonstration. Traffic resumed shortly thereafter. According to the agency, officers are making arrests on two points along the interstate. One of those spots is where approximately 300 protesters refused to disperse.

In a press release, the agency stated that “attempting to block or close down a state highway or freeway to protest is illegal, dangerous and prevents drivers from safely reaching their destination.”

Oregon State Police reported that 52 protestors had been arrested for disorderly behavior following the Interstate 5 demonstration in Eugene, Oregon. Eugene is located about 110 miles south of Portland. Six vehicles had to be towed away from the scene.

New York Police arrested a number of protesters, claiming that 150 people were involved at the beginning in the march, around 3:15 pm, but this number grew quickly. By 5 p.m., the bridge had been fully reopened.

Falaneh reports that dozens of protesters have been arrested in Chicago. Chicago police reported Monday that they had taken “multiple” people into custody following a protest in which people blocked traffic. However, the number of people arrested was not given.