NYC Gaza protest

Demonstrators demanding a Gaza cease-fire protest outside Penn Station in New York City on December 18, 2023.

(Photo: caren/X)

Protesters March on NYC Transit Hubs Demanding Gaza Cease-Fire

"We must stand up and not be silent to this injustice," said one rabbi taking part in the demonstration.

A coordinated wave of demonstrations against what activists called Israel's genocidal war on Gaza targeted New York City transit hubs Monday afternoon, with protesters demanding an immediate cease-fire as heavy Israeli bombardment of the besieged strip pushed the death toll from 73 days of attacks to nearly 20,000.

Protesters marched from Grand Central Station to the Port Authority Bus Terminal and then on to Penn Station, where at least hundreds of activists gave police the slip and occupied Moynihan Hall. Many participants prayed for peace before leaving the station.

"We must stand up and not be silent to this injustice," Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss toldamNewYork Metro outside Grand Central Station. "We hurt and cry with the people who are dying and suffering under the stranglehold of the Zionist occupation. We want the world to know that we hurt because we are Jews, we will not be silent because we are Jews."

Independent photojournalist Katie Smith followed the entire demonstration—which was coordinated by the group Within Our Lifetime—documenting incidents including police "violently engaging with protesters" and a confrontation between the actor Alec Baldwin and activists.

According to Smith, activists later marched to a building in Greenwich Village where a fundraiser for the Israel Defense Forces was reportedly being held.

Monday's actions followed recent protests in New York, including a Manhattan march led by artists remembering the life and work of Refaat Alareer—a Gaza poet and professor killed last week in an Israeli airstrike—and calling on Israel to free political prisoners including the members of Freedom Theater recently arrested in Jenin in the illegally occupied West Bank.

In recent days, large protests for Gaza have also taken place in U.S. cities including Houston, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., as well as in cities in countries including the U.K., Canada, France, Belgium, Norway, and Germany.

In California, workers at Google and allies held a Thursday die-in at the tech giant's San Francisco office "to demand the company stop powering Israel's genocide of Palestinians in Gaza" through the $1.2 billion Project Nimbus cloud computing contract.

More protests are planned for this week, including a nationwide action by Mennonites on Tuesday and a rally by over 80 groups on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. that same day.

Sponsored by the Action Center on Race and Economy, Adalah Justice Project, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, and the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, Tuesday's D.C. event is being held to "demand a permanent cease-fire in Gaza and oppose the Biden administration's proposed military aid package sending billions of taxpayer dollars to Israel, U.S. southern border militarization, and immigration enforcement."

Join Us: News for people demanding a better world

Common Dreams is powered by optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.

We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter makes the difference.

Your contribution supports this bold media model—free, independent, and dedicated to reporting the facts every day. Stand with us in the fight for economic equality, social justice, human rights, and a more sustainable future. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.