Roads blocked as thousands protest in US against Israel’s attack on Gaza

<span>The 880 southbound in Oakland.</span><span>Photograph: Brontë Wittpenn/AP</span>
The 880 southbound in Oakland.Photograph: Brontë Wittpenn/AP

Thousands of people held protests across the US on Monday condemning Israel’s attack on Gaza, shutting down airports and disrupting traffic in major cities from New York to San Francisco.

A portion of the Kennedy Expressway into Chicago O’Hare international airport, one of the US’s busiest, was blocked off by protesters calling for an end to the violence.

NBC Chicago reported that some travelers were seen getting out of their cars and walking along the highway to the airport. The Chicago aviation department said the protests caused substantial flight delays. Many protesters were arrested following the incident.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, two major highways – the southbound 101 across the Golden Gate Bridge and northbound 880 in nearby Oakland – were disrupted during morning rush hour as demonstrators echoed calls for a ceasefire and an end to US support for Israel.

All traffic lanes have since been reopened.

Protesters were also arrested on New York’s Brooklyn Bridge and in Philadelphia, where several streets in the city center were blocked off.

Near Seattle, a demonstration closed the main road to Seattle-Tacoma international airport, authorities said. Social media posts showed people holding a banner and waving Palestinian flags while standing on the highway.

Oregon state police said 52 protesters were were arrested for disorderly conduct following the Interstate 5 protest in Eugene, about 110 miles (177km) south of Portland. Six vehicles were towed from the scene.

The protests were just a few of many demonstrations held around the world since Israel’s violent siege on the Palestinian territory began last year.

Following the 7 October attacks on Israel, carried out by Hamas fighters who killed more than a thousand people and took hundreds of hostages, the Israeli government has launched an unrelenting attack on the heavily populated Gaza strip, killing more than 30,000 people, many of whom are women and children.

Despite calls for a ceasefire from numerous countries and an order from the UN’s top court, the international court of justice (ICJ), to prevent genocide against Palestinians in Gaza and “prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide”, Israel has yet to pull back.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has instead continued its military operations and disrupted humanitarian aid from reaching Gaza, where Palestinians remain at risk of famine and an almost totally destroyed healthcare infrastructure.

The UN says of the 36 hospitals in Gaza only a dozen are partially functional while the others are ruined.

The Associated Press contributed reporting