Pro-Palestinian demonstrators shut down major US airport roads and bridges

The road leading to Chicago's O'Hare Airport was one of the motorways blocked by protesters, prompting travellers to leave their cars and run for flights


Pro-Palestinian demonstrators blocked key roads across the United States on Monday, temporarily shutting down travel into some of the country's most used airports and motorways

Protests were held across a number of states, including Illinois, California and New York.

In Chicago, protesters linked arms and blocked lanes of the main road leading into O'Hare International Airport, in a demonstration described as part of a global "economic blockade to free Palestine".

Traffic in the San Francisco Bay Area was congested for hours as demonstrators shut down all vehicle, pedestrian and bike traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge and chained themselves to 55-gallon drums filled with cement.

Protesters marching into Brooklyn blocked Manhattan-bound traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge.

In Eugene, Oregon, protesters blocked the Interstate 5, shutting down traffic on the major road for about 45 minutes.

Protesters say they chose O'Hare in part because it is one of the largest airports in the US.

Among other things, they have called for an immediate ceasefire in the war between Israel and proscribed-terror group Hamas.

O'Hare Airport had warned travellers to take alternative forms of transport with car travel "substantially delayed this morning due to protest activity".

Protesters calling for a ceasefire in Gaza shut down southbound traffic on the Highway 880 in Oakland, California. Credit: AP

Some travellers stuck in standstill traffic left their cars and opted to walk the final leg to the airport along the motorway, trailing their luggage behind them.

Madeline Hannan from suburban Chicago was headed to O'Hare for a work trip to Florida when she found herself not moving in traffic for 20 minutes.

She got out and "both ran and speed walked" more than a mile, and miraculously made it to the gate on time for her flight.

"This was an inconvenience," she said in a telephone interview from Florida. "But in the grand scheme of things going on overseas, it's a minor inconvenience."

While individual travellers may have been affected, operations at the airport appeared near normal with delays of under 15 minutes, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.


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Dozens arrested in 'unlawful' protests

Near Seattle, a demonstration closed the main road to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the Washington State Department of Transportation said.

Social media posts showed people holding a banner and waving Palestinian flags while standing on the motorway, which reopened about three hours later.

About 20 protesters were arrested at the Golden Gate Bridge demonstration and traffic resumed shortly after midday, according to the California Highway Patrol.


Several people were arrested on Monday morning during a pro-Palestinian protest that blocked intersections in parts of Philadelphia


"Attempting to block or shut down a freeway or state highway to protest is unlawful, dangerous, and prevents motorists from safely reaching their destinations," the agency said in a statement.

Oregon State Police said 52 protestors were were arrested for disorderly conduct, following the Interstate 5 protest in Eugene, Oregon. Six vehicles were towed from the scene.

New York Police made numerous arrests, saying 150 protesters were initially involved in the march, with that number growing as the protest took place.

Chicago police said on Monday that "multiple people" were taken into custody after a protest where people obstructed traffic, but they did not have a detailed count.

Anti-war protesters have demonstrated in Chicago almost daily since October 7, when Hamas carried out an attack on southern Israel that killed around 1,200 people.

Israeli warplanes and ground troops have since conducted a aggressive campaign in Gaza, where more than 33,700 Palestinians have been killed, according to the Gaza-run health ministry.

The ministry does not differentiate between civilians and combatants in its count, but it says women and children make up two-thirds of the dead.


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