A New York City council member and a state senator were among the more than 100 protesters arrested after blocking traffic at a Pro-Palestinian Rally in Manhattan on Friday night.
Brooklyn State Sen. Jabari Brisport, 36, and City Council Member Shahana Hanif, 32, were among the about 1,000 demonstrators who flooded Bryant Park starting at around 5 p.m. for the “Cease Fire Now Rally for Gaza.”
Both politicians gloated about being handcuffed on their social media accounts, while continuing their calls for a Ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.
“Last night I was arrested with 100+ peace activists calling for an immediate ceasefire. We will not let our leaders repeat the mistakes of the past by escalating this war,” Brisport wrote on X Saturday.
Hanif – who represents the City Council’s 32nd district covering Park Slope and other parts of central Brooklyn – revealed she and two of her team members were taken into custody by the NYPD.
“A ceasefire is the only way to bring all hostages home! #ReleaseTheHostages!” she wrote on Instagram. “I am proud to echo the calls for peace made by so many of my Palestinian, Muslim and Jewish neighbors. We have seen enough bloodshed, we need our elected officials in every level of government to demand a ceasefire now.”
Hanif called for New York Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to “support a ceasefire in Gaza.”
The demonstration – organized by Democratic Socialists of America – began in the park before protesters marched toward Gillibrand’s Midtown office.
Along the route, scores of demonstrators planted themselves on Fifth Avenue around 8 p.m., sitting in uniformed lines across the busy road and ignoring requests from cops to stop blocking traffic.
The NYPD said a total of 139 people were taken into custody at around 9:15 p.m. Friday and later released with Criminal Court Summonses.
That rally preceded the “Flood Brooklyn for Palestine” demonstration in Bay Ridge on Saturday in which scores of protesters also blocked traffic, with some flooding a street for hours and clashing with police.
The Palestinian-led activist group Within Our Lifetime, which organized that rally, claimed attendees were “brutally attacked” by the NYPD, sharing a video on Instagram showing the moment several protesters were pushed to the ground in a chain reaction as an officer is seen throwing several punches.
“Some demonstrators within the crowd chose to act in a combative and aggressive manner. Officers were pushed, shoved, and struck by some demonstrators within the crowd after the LRAD [long-range acoustic device] device was utilized,” the NYPD said in a statement.
“Officers were struck with flying debris which included eggs, fireworks, and bottles,” the statement said. “Officers responded to this disruptive behavior and attempted to regain order by taking into custody those responsible for these actions.”
“The NYPD encourages peaceful protests but will not condone our officers being subjected to any form of violence.”
Police said 16 protesters were arrested and issued criminal court summonses, while three others were taken into custody and released on desk appearance tickets. Three of the 16 were juveniles.
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