Arrests Made as Pro-Palestine Demonstrators Gather Near the Met Gala

Hundreds of individuals congregated in Manhattan on Monday afternoon, joining forces to march towards the Met Gala in an act of protest against Israel’s ongoing conflict with Gaza. As the rally progressed, the police made several arrests, and the demonstration eventually splintered into smaller groups. These groups weaved their way through Central Park and navigated the heavily barricaded streets near the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Although they were unable to directly disrupt the Gala, they came in close proximity to the main event.

Protesters gathered at Hunter College to participate in what had been described by Within our Lifetime, a pro-Palestinian group, as a “Citywide Day of Rage For Gaza.” They donned masks, carried drums, and held picket signs, with one message stating “No Met Gala While Bombs Drop in Gaza.”

As the protesters marched up Fifth Avenue, they approached the museum’s red carpet and managed to bypass and break through the police barricades. A little while later, some protesters ignited pink and green smoke bombs on Park Avenue, along with a single flare, causing onlookers from the Upper East Side to cheer while capturing the moment on film.

According to reports from both the New York Daily News and the New York Post, a group of protesters set fire to an American flag at a World War I memorial in Central Park. Additionally, they spray-painted tags such as “Gaza” and “Free Palestine” on the base of the bronze statue.

Within Our Lifetime announced that it concluded its march at around 9 p.m., approximately four hours after the call to assemble. The organization urged its supporters to continue taking independent action outside the Met. They tweeted, “Disrupt business as usual while Rafah faces relentless bombings and our people persist in resisting genocide through any means necessary!”

By 10 p.m., the protesters had mostly left the area. Police officers stayed behind, examining the damage done to the bronze memorial and trying unsuccessfully to remove a Palestinian flag that had been placed on it. According to an independent journalist, the officers had to request assistance from an Emergency Service Unit in order to take the flag down.

Protesters once again posed a threat to the 2021 Met Gala, this time in connection with the Black Lives Matter movement. Reports indicate that nine demonstrators were arrested and later released. It is worth noting that in the previous year, climate protesters demanding to “tax the rich” gathered outside the gala and momentarily obstructed a van transporting Paris Hilton.

The Israeli military continued its attacks on Gaza on Monday, despite Hamas’s acceptance of a potential ceasefire proposal presented by mediators from Egypt and Qatar. Israeli authorities stated that the offer did not meet their core demands, but they expressed their commitment to ongoing negotiations.

On Monday, the Israel Defence Forces issued an order for over 100,000 individuals to evacuate the eastern neighborhoods of Rafah, which is Gaza’s southernmost city. This area has seen an influx of over 1 million displaced Palestinians since Israel’s invasion in response to the Oct. 7 attacks. Following the order, Israeli tanks were reported to have entered Rafah, according to the Associated Press.

In late February, the official death toll in Gaza exceeded 30,000, although there are concerns that this number may not accurately reflect the true extent of the casualties.

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MBS Staff
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