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Protesters in Bay Ridge Call for Ceasefire in Israel-Hamas War

Nineteen people at the protest on Fifth Avenue were arrested.

Thousands of people poured out into the streets of Bay Ridge on Saturday, Oct. 21, to call for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war and protest of the ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The demonstration was organized by Within Our Lifetime, an organization based in New York City that advocates for Palestinian liberation and the end of Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories. 

The protest came two weeks after Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel, murdering 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and injuring 4,500 more, and taking more than 200 people hostage.

After Hamas' rampage, Israel ordered a siege of the Gaza Strip and dropped more than 6,000 bombs, killing at least 3,793 people, mostly civilians, and injuring 12,500 more, with 1000 people still missing. More than one million people in Gaza have been displaced since Oct. 7, the United Nations reports

During the protest, people from all over the borough, city and nation gathered on 72nd Street and Fifth Avenue to call for a ceasefire and advocate for the United States to stop supporting the Israeli military. 

“What brings me out here is seeing my brothers and sisters getting slaughtered in a genocide that’s happening in front of the world’s eyes. The occupation has to end. Give them their land back, that’s the solution,” SQ, who was handing out free Qurans at the protest, told BK Reader. “[The protest] will bring attention, which is what we need. We need the world to see what it is.”

SQ giving out free Qurans on 5th Ave.
SQ greeting fellow protestors and giving out free Qurans on Fifth Avenue. Photo: Shenal Tissera for BK Reader.

The day started off with a prayer and speeches from various event organizers and community leaders, including the Muslim American Society Youth Center Resident Sheikh, Mohammed Badawy.

“As much as they want to make it about Muslim versus Jew, that’s not what it’s about. It is about one thing only: And that is injustice,” Badawy told the crowd. 

Several chants, including “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” and “Not another nickel, not another dime, no more money for Israel’s crimes,” rang through the otherwise quiet neighborhood throughout the afternoon. 

After the speeches, the march down Fifth Avenue began, and the river of demonstrators flooded the streets with signs and flags.

People representing Mexico, South Korea, Puerto Rico and Vietnam came to show their support, as well as groups from New Jersey and Washington, D.C.

A police officer in the process of shoving a protester.
A police officer grabs a protestor. Photo: Shenal Tissera for BK Reader.

Toward the end of the night, the protest bottlenecked at the intersection of 67th Street and Fifth Avenue as police officers commanded the large crowd to disperse.

Protestors stood their ground, at which point law enforcement began arresting people. According to the NYPD, 19 people were arrested, including three minors.

One of the protestors, Siddy, told BK Reader a police officer injured a protestor who was getting arrested.

“Gabby got her shoulder dislocated. It looked like she was in a lot of pain. We started chanting for a medic because [the police] just had her on the bus,” Siddy said. 

Several protesters hurled water bottles and eggs at police as they continued through the avenue, keeping protestors on the sidewalks and pushing them back further toward 86th St.

Eventually, the remaining protestors left, capping a day of resistance on a brisk fall night. 

Shenal Tissera

About the Author: Shenal Tissera

Shenal Tissera is a Staten Island-born freelance writer.
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