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34 pro-Palestinian protesters arrested for disrupting Macy’s parade, police say

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Dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters were arrested Thursday after they briefly disrupted the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York by gluing themselves to the pavement of the Manhattan parade route, according to police.

The New York Police Department arrested 34 people who interrupted the celebration during various points of the parade, including some who spray-painted the words “Free Palestine” on the pillars of the New York Public Library’s main branch near Bryant Park, a police spokesperson told The Washington Post.

Some of the pro-Palestinian protesters arrested, who were demonstrating in response to the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, had jumped the barricades and glued themselves to Sixth Avenue, according to authorities. Several of them were wearing white jumpsuits covered with fake blood and emblazoned with words like “colonialism” and “consumerism.”

Protesters held up Palestinian flags and signs reading, “Genocide then, genocide now,” as a Minions balloon went by. Others held similar banners on the parade route as a McDonald’s car carrying the Grimace looked on near West 55th Street.

Thirty of the protesters were issued summons for trespassing, police told The Post. Another four people were criminally charged with resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, trespassing and disorderly conduct related to the vandalism at the New York Public Library. The NYPD identified those four people arrested as Jay Waxse, 34, of Washington, D.C.; Natalia Scollo, 29, of Lindenhurst, N.Y.; Sarah Al Azzawi, 26, of New York; and Alvin Dan, 32, of Staten Island.

A police spokesperson said she wasn’t sure whether the four arrested for spray-painting the front of the library were still in custody as of Friday morning, and it’s unclear whether they had attorneys. A Macy’s spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

New York Public Library spokesperson Jennifer Fermino told The Post in a Friday statement that while it “strongly supports the right to protest,” the damage to the building will be costly amid budget cuts to the library system.

“On Thanksgiving, individuals involved in a protest engaged in a shameful act of vandalism to the Library’s flagship Stephen A. Schwarzman building, a space devoted to the open exchange of ideas and intellectual debate,” Fermino said. “This comes at a time when the city’s libraries are facing steep budget cuts that have left us unable to maintain our current levels of service, and this vandalism will be costly to repair.”

The arrests in New York come as a pause in fighting in Gaza went into effect Friday, with aid trucks entering the Palestinian enclave and people in southern Gaza venturing out, filling streets after weeks of fighting and Israeli airstrikes. The first respite in seven weeks of war is part of a deal between Israel and Hamas, which on Friday led to the release of an initial group of 13 Israeli hostages and 12 Thai hostages taken by militants in the Oct. 7 attack on Israel. Fifty hostages are expected to be freed over a four-day pause in fighting in exchange for 150 Palestinian prisoners in Israel under the agreement, which resulted from weeks of Qatar-mediated negotiations.

Live updates: Pause in fighting begins as part of deal to release captives

Some pro-Palestinian protesters in the United States have been arrested in recent weeks. More than 50 activists calling for a cease-fire were arrested earlier in the month after protesting in the offices of several U.S. senators, including Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Days later, 10 people, most of them college students, were arrested after interrupting a congressional hearing to demand that pro-Palestinian students be protected when they speak out on campus.

Another pro-Palestinian protester in California was arrested last week and charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of a Jewish man who suffered head injuries in an altercation between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protesters at a demonstration in Southern California.

The Thanksgiving protest in New York began around 10 a.m. Thursday at Sixth Avenue and West 45th Street, roughly 90 minutes after the 97th annual Macy’s parade started, according to police. Some of the floats, bands and balloons appeared to be diverted to avoid the protesters who had glued themselves to the pavement.

Protesters chanted, “No more nickels, not another dime, no more money for Israel’s crimes” and “Free free Palestine!” They refused to leave Sixth Avenue until they were eventually taken into custody, according to WABC in New York.

A group of protesters was also seen vandalizing the New York Public Library’s main branch with spray paint and more fake blood, which appeared to be made from grape juice, WABC reported. Video posted to X shows Palestinian flags along with red and green spray paint along the pillars of the library.

The protesters were not the only ones to show support to Gaza on Thursday. A man who was on a float for the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe of Massachusetts held up a Palestinian flag and made it onto the NBC broadcast.

The action was denounced by the tribe on social media, saying it “takes no stance on the conflicts overseas.”

“Our Tribal Nation remains focused on the issues we face on our ancestral homeland,” the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe wrote on Facebook. “While we cannot speak for an individual’s actions, his actions were not a Tribal decision. Our governing tribal body, along with the other tribal citizens on the float, were not involved with his actions.”

The protest interrupting the parade came around the same time that President Biden and first lady Jill Biden called into the broadcast to give thanks. They also asked Americans to “come together.”

“We have to remind ourselves how blessed we are to live in the greatest nation on the face of the earth,” the president said. “Today is about coming together, giving thanks for this country we call home. And thanks to all the firefighters, police officers, first responders and our troops, some of whom are stationed abroad.”

Ellie Silverman contributed to this report



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