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Demonstrators Across the World Disrupt Cities in Protest of Gaza Genocide

Protesters across 50 cities waged an economic blockade, blocking highways and shutting down arms manufacturers.

Protesters in Philadelphia marched on City Hall on April 15, 2024, to protest the genocide in Gaza.

Demonstrators across every inhabited continent took to the streets to block major corridors and spots of economic activity on Monday, April 15, in a coordinated economic disruption to protest Israel’s genocide in Gaza.

The “A15” protests were planned across 50 cities, including 21 in the U.S., encompassing 17 countries in total. Protesters blocked shipping ports and railroads, targeted funders of arms manufacturers like Israel’s Elbit Systems, blocked factories for arms manufacturers directly, and linked arms across major roads, including highways and airport entrances.

In the U.S., demonstrations were held in places like New York City, Detroit, Houston, Seattle, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Portland, Oregon. Across the world, protests took place in London, Johannesburg, Seoul, Ho Chi Minh, Montreal, Athens, Vancouver, Mexico City, Melbourne, and more.

The goal of the actions was to “cause maximum economic impact” in order to fight for the liberation of Palestine as international leaders continue to back and fund Israel’s genocide of Gaza in its seventh month. Israel’s campaign of bombardment and starvation has killed at least 34,000 Palestinians, with thousands more missing under the rubble, in mass graves or disappeared into Israel’s prisons.

The protest efforts were vast and often included multiple actions even within a city. At least dozens — if not hundreds — of protesters were arrested for their participation.

Organizers in Philadelphia held three actions simultaneously. One group blocked traffic on the Market Street Bridge, a major thoroughfare commuters use to access local highways, during morning rush hour. At the same time, others held a funeral procession to mourn Palestinians killed in the genocide along I-95, a main interstate that runs down the east coast, slowing traffic to a near-standstill. And a third group marched in the streets in front of City Hall.

Protesters said that City Hall and weapons maker Day & Zimmermann both shut down as a result of the demonstrations. Advocates say $23 million of Philadelphia’s tax revenue was sent to Israel in 2023.

Philadelphia and Pennsylvania state police together arrested a total of 67 protesters on Market Street Bridge and I-95.

The diversity of actions was key to causing disruption, organizer Hannah Zellman told Truthout, with options to participate for people who could risk arrest and those who couldn’t. A variety was also key to bringing attention to the actions, and was an exercise in trust between organizers.

“It was a beautiful morning — we watched as action after action got underway, and witnessed the cascading impact across the city in real time,” Zellman said. “We brought the city to a standstill, built incredible solidarity and power in our movements, and shared information about how we could invest our tax dollars in the things that meet the needs of Philadelphians, rather than funding Israel’s genocide against Palestinians.”

In Chicago, protesters blocked the highway entrance to O’Hare International Airport for nearly an hour and a half on Monday morning. Travelers for all domestic terminals at the airport were blocked from the action, and police arrested 40 protesters.

Organizers were targeting O’Hare over its association with Boeing, a major arms manufacturer that has manufactured munitions that Israel has been using to kill Palestinians in Gaza. Boeing has sent thousands of weapons to Israel, and also manufactures aircrafts that are used extensively by airlines that operate out of O’Hare.

Chicago organizers tied the action to Tax Day, which fell on April 15, and the role of taxpayer dollars in funding the genocide.

“Between 1950 and 2020, more than 80 percent of Israel’s weapons were imported by the United States. And as the war rages on, the United States has remained one of Israel’s most valuable allies and its biggest supplier of military aid,” a press release by Chicago A15 organizers read. “Boeing and the U.S. government must be held accountable for their historic role in the genocide and occupation of Palestinians.”

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