Police arrest 22 at pro-Palestinian protest at NY museum

Dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters descended on New York's Brooklyn Museum, leading to at least 22 arrests (Leonardo Munoz)
Dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters descended on New York's Brooklyn Museum, leading to at least 22 arrests (Leonardo Munoz)

New York police arrested at least 22 people after pro-Palestinian protesters picketed New York's Brooklyn Museum, charging some with offenses including assault, officers said on Saturday, with the gallery reporting damage to artwork.

Hundreds of demonstrators had descended on the art museum Friday, chanting pro-Palestinian slogans, and carrying banners and placards, an AFP correspondent saw.

While many remained outside, some entered the museum, with a giant black and white banner reading "Free Palestine, divest from genocide" unfurled above the museum facade's six distinctive columns.

There have been waves of protests in New York and across the United States, both pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli, since the outbreak of the war in Gaza, which was triggered by Hamas's attack on southern Israel on October 7.

The assault resulted in the deaths of 1,189 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Those arrested were accused of offenses ranging from assaulting police officers, resisting arrest and riding a bicycle on the sidewalk.

Lesser action was taken against seven others, police said.

"Unfortunately, there was damage to existing and newly installed artwork on our plaza, and our public safety staff were physically and verbally harassed," said a spokeswoman for the Brooklyn Museum, confirming that the site was closed early on Friday.

US universities were rocked by pro-Palestinian demonstrations in April, triggering campus clashes with police and the arrest of dozens of people.

The demonstrations began at Columbia University in New York and later spread across the country as well as to Europe and elsewhere.

In the October 7 attacks, militants also took 252 hostages, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the army says are dead.

Israel's retaliatory offensive has killed at least 36,379 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.

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