Thousands of New Yorkers marched across the Brooklyn Bridge on Saturday in support of Gaza, calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East as Israel continues to expand its ground operations in the Gaza Strip.
The rally started by the Brooklyn Museum at around 3 p.m. and picked up thousands of people along the rally route toward the Brooklyn Bridge, where it shut down traffic for a time before proceeding to City Hall in Manhattan.
Organizers the Oct. 28 protest, Within Our Lifetime, estimated a crowd of over 100,000 people joined in the demonstration in solidarity with the Palestinian community, with signs from the crowd reading “7,770 people dead,” “Bombing children is not right,” and “Ceasefire now.”
Some elected officials and activists have urged the U.S. to support a ceasefire as Israel continues to shell the Gaza strip in retaliation for the Oct. 7. attack by terrorist group Hamas.
Nerdeen Kiswani, the chairperson for the Palestinian-led Within Our Lifetime, said multiple demonstrations are planned for later this week as Israel is no closer to agreeing to a ceasefire. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated on Monday that “now is a time for war.”
Kiswani said Saturday’s march brought together people from all faiths and backgrounds as people realize that “there’s a lot more urgency” for a ceasefire due to the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
“We’ve seen Israeli aggression like this before, but it’s at its height right now,” she told Brooklyn Paper, adding that media outlets had only started to reach out to Within Our Lifetime until recent protests “when we started protesting and bringing out the numbers and showing physically the amount of people that support Palestine.”
Kiswani, who has immediate family living in the West Bank and extended family in Gaza, said all the Palestinian community in New York can do for now is protest, “but to me it’s never enough.”
Well over 100 protests have been held across the city over the last several weeks, in support of both Israel and Palestine.
Saturday’s march came one day after protestors shut down Grand Central Station with a sit-in protest calling for a ceasefire. Organized by Jewish Voices for Peace, the demonstration resulted in the arrest of hundreds, among them Brooklyn Assembly Member Emily Gallagher.
Within Our Lifetime held a 50,000-strong rally in Bay Ridge last weekend in the home of one of the city’s largest Arab communities. Nineteen people were arrested at the Oct. 21 protest.
Saturday’s demonstration across the Brooklyn Bridge saw one arrest after a 26-year-old man vandalized a vehicle, according to the NYPD.
The NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force said it is investigating a separate incident at the rally in which a woman allegedly made anti-ethnic statement and slapped a 31-year-old rally-goer in the face on the Brooklyn Bridge.
Cops are seeking to identify the woman wanted in relation to the aggravated harassment incident
The suspect is described as having brown eyes, long brown hair, 5’7” in height, and approximately 30-years-old. She was last seen wearing a gray shirt, blue jeans, and sunglasses.
Following the devastating Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, an Islamic resistance group, on Israel — and the Israeli military’s subsequent attacks in Gaza, over 8,000 Palestinians have been killed. Some 1,500 Israeli people were killed in the initial attack on Israel while 230 others were kidnapped in the surprise ambush by Hamas.
Children account for 40% of the casualties in Gaza, and according to NGO Save the Children, the number of children reported killed in Gaza in the last three weeks has surpassed the annual number of children killed across the world’s conflict zones since 2019.
“One child’s death is one too many, but these are grave violations of epic proportions. A ceasefire is the only way to ensure their safety. The international community must put people before politics—every day spent debating is leaving children killed and injured,” said Save the Children Palestine Director Jason Lee, in a statement.
The United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported on Oct. 29, that at least 33 trucks carrying water, food and medical supplies entered Gaza through the Rafah crossing with Egypt. However, the agency said a much larger volume of aid is needed on a regular basis to prevent further deterioration in the dire humanitarian situation, including civil unrest.
The International Committee of the Red Cross on Monday described the human suffering taking place in Gaza as “shocking.”
“Thousands killed. People have limited access to food & water. Hospitals are near collapse. Hospital corridors are full of wounded & displaced,” the charity posted on X, calling for civilians and hospitals to be protected as the conflict rages on with no end in sight.