Thousands oppose Israeli bombardment of Gaza in Manhattan protest

NEW YORK — Thousands of protesters opposed to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza rallied in Manhattan Saturday calling for a cease-fire as estimates of the death toll in the conflict climb past 30,000.

The protest, billed by organizers as a “global day of action,” gathered in Washington Square Park around 1 p.m., and its ranks swelled despite the rain.

“I think it’s really cool when folks come out in the rain and the sun and the snow and the sleet,” said protester Tova Greene, 23. “It’s really affirming to see so many folks even though it’s annoying, but we have to do it.”

“It’s packed. It’s like sardines, but in a good way,” Greene said of the crowd.

Many protesters left the park and were marching up Sixth Avenue by around 3 p.m., followed closely by police.

As the march reached Bryant Park in Midtown, police arrested several protesters, according to video posted online. It wasn’t clear what sparked the arrests.

In Washington, D.C., protesters shut down streets near the Israeli Embassy, as global calls for a cease-fire have grown in recent weeks.

Israeli officials “have more or less accepted” a six-week cease-fire proposal, according to a senior U.S. official with the Biden administration, the Associated Press reported Saturday.

Similar pro-Palestinian protests in the city have drawn New York Police Department enforcement in recent weeks. Police made a number of arrests when President Joe Biden visited Rockefeller Center last Monday.

In January, activists shut down the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg bridges and the Holland Tunnel entrance, snarling traffic.