With its emergency lights flashing, an EMS rig was stalled by pro-Palestine protesters in downtown Minneapolis Tuesday evening.
American Muslims for Palestine called an “emergency protest” in response to the ongoing hostilities between Israel and terrorists in the Gaza Strip. According to the Times of Israel, roughly 200 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel from Monday night into Tuesday morning.
The Israel Defense Forces retaliated with airstrikes on upwards of 100 targets throughout the Strip, including Hamas’s intelligence headquarters.
The tensions stemmed from Israel’s planned eviction of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem.
“From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” protesters chanted while marching through downtown Minneapolis. At one point, the crowd of demonstrators blocked traffic on Washington Avenue and delayed an ambulance with its sirens on.
“Israel has killed 20 Palestinian civilians including 9 children and is threatening over 500 Palestinians with eviction in Jerusalem. Show up to demand the U.S. stop funding land theft, massacre, and occupation,” an event description for the protest states.
The group later clogged all lanes of traffic on a Washington Avenue bridge over I-35W as it made its way into the Cedar Riverside area, Crime Watch Minneapolis reported. The demonstrators stopped on the bridge for “rituals and prayers,” according to police dispatch.
The Minnesota Legislature passed a bill in 2018 to raise the penalty for protesters who block freeway traffic, transit lines or airport roads, but it was vetoed by former Gov. Mark Dayton. A new bill seeks to crack down on illegal activity at protests by revoking government assistance, like student loans and food stamps, from those who are convicted.
Republicans across the country have taken similar steps, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who signed an “anti-mob” bill into law last month.