Demonstrators in support of Palestinians march during a protest in New York on October 9, 2023. Israel imposed a total siege on the Gaza Strip Monday and cut off the water supply as it kept bombing targets in the crowded Palestinian enclave in response to the Hamas surprise assault over the weekend. AFP
With signs reading "Israel go to hell!" and "NYC stands with Gaza," people of all ages stood in front of the Israeli consulate general waving Palestinian flags.
Across the heavily policed street, a pro-Israel group stood behind security barriers hurling insults at the other gathering.
It was the second day in a row that the city had been the scene of tense counter-protests between pro-Palestinian residents and others defending Israel.
Young activists wearing Palestinian keffiyeh headscarves took turns at a megaphone to demand a "free Palestine" and "an end of the colonization and occupation of our Arab land," adding that "Zionism is racism."
They chanted "No justice, no peace," and "No justice on stolen land," while their placards compared the situation in Gaza to the Jewish uprising in the Warsaw ghetto in World War II.
Leena Abukuwaik, a 45-year-old Palestinian American, told AFP she had "a brother, two sisters and lots of cousins, my whole family," in Gaza, of whom she had no news.
"I'm not sure if they are bombed or not, if they are alive, if they're injured, if they are safe," she whispered, holding back tears.
Also protesting was Ray Gordon, an 81-year-old American retiree who lives between Maryland and Florida, "That's a thing that infuriates me: it's my tax dollars that arms Israel," he said.
"End all US aid to Israel," he told AFP.
Asked about Hamas' attack on Israel on Saturday and the deaths of hundreds of Israelis, Gordon replied, "It's a wonder that it hasn't happened before... what goes around comes around, that's what I would say to" the Israeli government.
Maryam Alaniz, a 27-year-old doctoral student, said she does not think that "civilian casualties are justified, but I'm also not a pacifist."
*This story was edited by Ahram Online