Protesters calling for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war streamed into Grand Central Terminal in midtown Manhattan on Friday, in one of the largest protests the city has seen since the start of the conflict three weeks ago.
The demonstration, organized by Jewish Voice for Peace, came as Israel ramped up its military operations inside Gaza.
Hundreds of protesters filled the train station, chanting “cease-fire now” and “let Gaza live.” Most wore black shirts that read “not in our name.”
Banners declaring “Palestinians should be free” and “Israelis demand cease-fire now” were unfurled over the stairwell banisters.
“I don’t believe in this war,” said Rosalind Petchesky, 81, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace.
Sumaya Awad said she wanted the U.S. government to “follow the guidance and the wants of the majority of Americans.”
“We’re here engaging in civil disobedience to make it clear that we want the bombs to stop falling,” she said.
The protest roiled the evening commute for thousands of people trying to make trains home Friday evening. Commuters walked by, some pausing, others looking confused. No train delays were reported because of the protest.
The police tried unsuccessfully to block the entrances to Grand Central, then stood and watched as demonstrators took over the main concourse. By 7 p.m., with hundreds of protesters still in the station, the police began making arrests. Soon after, the M.T.A. announced that it would not allow anyone to enter the terminal and designated two entryways as exit-only.
Sean Piccoli and Julian Roberts-Grmela contributed reporting.