In a demonstration that disrupted Manhattan’s bustling activity, hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters took to the streets on Friday night, causing traffic snarls and restricting access to the vital Grand Central Terminal. The primary focus of the protest was a call for a ceasefire in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.

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Gathering in Columbus Circle in the afternoon, demonstrators, brandishing Palestinian flags and signs proclaiming messages like “Free Free Palestine” and “End the genocide,” marched from the west side of Manhattan to the bustling area around Times Square before converging on Grand Central Terminal. The terminal, a major transportation hub in the city, experienced a temporary closure due to the protest, as reported by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Metro-North Railroad on Friday night.

Amidst the largely peaceful demonstrations, the New York Police Department confirmed the arrest of six individuals for disorderly conduct. The NYPD spokesperson did not provide information on whether those arrested were served with summonses and subsequently released. The NYPD estimates put the crowd size at around 2,000 participants.

The Israel-Hamas conflict, sparking the protests, originated last month when Hamas initiated a series of attacks on Israeli communities and gatherings near Gaza on October 7. These attacks, according to Israel, resulted in approximately 1,200 casualties. In the subsequent Israeli response in Gaza, over 11,000 Palestinian casualties were reported by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah, citing figures from the Hamas-controlled Gaza.

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The demonstrations in Manhattan reflect the deep-seated passions and concerns surrounding the Israel-Hamas conflict, with individuals advocating for a ceasefire and expressing solidarity with the Palestinian cause. The disruption caused by the protests also underscores the intricate intersections between global geopolitical events and local activism, with cities like New York becoming focal points for expressing dissent and support on pressing international issues.