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Pro-Hamas Rioters Descend Upon NYC Cultural Space

UPDATE June 1, 2024: Mass arrests were made during this protest; more here.

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Pro-Palestine demonstrators took to the streets across New York City, as several protests occurred concurrently, both in Manhattan and in Brooklyn on Friday. 

At the Brooklyn Museum, Nerdeen Kiswani, leader of pro-Palestine organization Within Our Lifetime (WOL), was arrested by police. During her arrest, her hijab fell as police pinned her to the ground. 

Within the museum, Protesters held signs reading “Silence=Death” with an upside down watermelon below, “Divest from genocide,” “From Chinatown to Palestine: No displacement, no genocide,” and “Brooklyn Museum: No silence on genocide,” among others, according to videos of the protest published on X, formerly Twitter.

Protesters chanted, “Long live the intifada,” “From New York to Gaza, Globalize the intifada,” and “From the sea to the river, Palestine will live forever.”

At the same time as the protest at the Brooklyn Museum, high school students held a walkout to “to demand a ceasefire in Gaza and an end to US support for Israel’s genocide of Palestinian people,” according to the Google form participants were supposed to sign before the scheduled walkout. 

The Google form also stated that the location of the rally following the walkouts was at Tweed Courthouse on Chambers Street, which serves as the NYC Department of Education’s headquarters.

Also on the form, organizers stated that they will send trained marshals to meet students at their schools as they walk out, unless they indicated that they did not want to be accompanied by marshals. 

The walkout was organized by Teachers Unite, NYC Educators for Palestine, the Palestine Youth Movement, Al-AWDA NY, Movement of MORE Rank-&-File Educators, and Desis Rising Up and Moving, according to a protest toolkit.

According to an Instagram post by the organizers of the event, the organizers of the protest want the NYC Department of Education to protect pro-Palestine students from unjust administrative retaliation and suspension, protect teachers facing retaliation from administration and parents for teaching about Palestine and for being active in this movement, take measures to protect Muslim and Arab students who are disproportionately targets of administrative retaliation and racist, Islamophobic harassment from their school administrations, reject attempts to equate anti-Zionism with antisemitism, support NYC Educators for Palestine’s campaign to divest school and educator pension funds from Israel, support Palestinian-led curriculum initiatives about Palestinian culture and history and mandate education about Palestine in history curriculums that centers Palestinian perspectives and experiences.

They also demanded that the New York City Council adopt a ceasefire resolution. Broader demands include an immediate and permanent ceasefire, ending all US military, political and economic support to Israel and Zionism, ending the 17-year siege on Gaza and reinstate funding for UNRWA, opening the Rafah crossing and freeing Palestine from the river to the sea.

The toolkit provided by the organizers included instructions for students to carry out the walkout, talking points on how to engage other students in participating in the protest, talking points for engaging with the media, printable posters, and flyers, as well as a document listing chants that will be used in the protest. 

Some of the chants on the list include “From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go,” and “When Palestine is under attack, What do we do? Stand up, fight back,” and “When people are occupied, resistance is justified!” In a video published to X, students chanted Allahu Akhbar as they walked down the street.

In all the protests, students chanted “Free Palestine” multiple times. 

Hundreds of students walked out of school, from several schools including Stuyvesant High School, Brooklyn Technical High School, LaGuardia High School, Essex Street Academy, Fort Hamilton HS, and more, according to The New York Post report. 

Department of Education Chancellor David Banks attempted to discourage the planned protest on Thursday.

“I’m a big believer in student voice and kids standing up for the things that they believe in … I don’t think you need to have continued walkouts to do that,” said Banks at a press briefing.

https://www.jpost.com/diaspora/antisemitism/article-804559