Pro-Palestinian demonstrators took to the streets in various U.S. cities, such as New York City and Boston, on New Year’s Eve. A significant group of protesters gathered at Columbus Circle in New York City, marched down Central Park South to Fifth Avenue, and called for a cease-fire in the ongoing conflict in the Middle East between Israeli forces and Hamas. Protesters in New York City were observed carrying Palestinian flags and chanting, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
These demonstrations occurred after New York City Mayor Eric Adams heightened security for New Year’s Eve in Times Square, considering the frequent protests in the city. Pro-Palestinian groups had planned to protest in Times Square against Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip. During these protests, at least one demonstrator at Macy’s in Herald Square set off a red smoke bomb and moved around the store before being escorted out.
The group Shut it Down for Palestine seemed to be involved in some of the New York City protests, advocating for “an international call to action” during New Year’s Eve celebrations in support of Palestinians in Gaza. The group emphasized the need to build momentum and increase pressure through various forms of direct action against entities collaborating with Israeli actions.
In Boston, pro-Palestinian protesters chanted slogans like “cease-fire or genocide” and “we demand a cease-fire,” waving Palestinian flags during the demonstration. Demonstrators at Columbus Circle in Manhattan were also seen chanting pro-Houthi statements.
Several U.S. cities increased security measures on New Year’s Eve due to these protests. Some cities, including Chicago and Sacramento, had to shut down roadways in response to the demonstrations.