2,400 Arrests Calling for CEASEFIRE NOW

December 30th, 2023 - by Felice & Jack Cohen-Joppa / Nuclear Resister


Jewish Voice for Peace photo

2,400 Arrests Calling for CEASEFIRE NOW
Felice & Jack Cohen-Joppa / Nuclear Resister

When the long-simmering war between Hamas and the state of Israel exploded into a rolling boil on October 7, demands for a ceasefire quickly dominated demonstrations around the world.

Following is a day-by-day chronicle of more than 2,400 arrests in the first two months since then, at more than 75 demonstrations across 22 states and provinces in the United States and Canada. It marks the largest surge of anti-war arrests since mid-April, 2003, when the Nuclear Resister chronicled over 7,500 anti-war arrests in the US alone in the lead-up to and first weeks of the second US invasion of Iraq.

(This information is published in issue #202 of the Nuclear Resister newsletter. To receive a free copy in the mail, send your name and postal address to nukeresister@igc.org.)

Editors’ Note:
This Day-by-Day record of dissent, primarily in North America, includes only those occasions where demonstrators demanding a ceasefire and end to the war were arrested. In addition to this chronicle of arrests, there were many thousands more participating in protests throughout the world.

By “arrested,” we mean when a person is detained by police for any length of time and is not free to go or to continue the activity they were engaged in before police intervened. Whether charges are then filed is another issue, and whether prosecution proceeds after that, yet another. As far as we know, and unless otherwise noted, within 24 hours everyone arrested was released on bail or with a promise to appear. Many charges may have since been dropped.

Looking ahead, the Nuclear Resister newsletter will continue to add to this chronicle and to report on all the prosecutions we have information about. Please subscribe here: http://www.nukeresister.org/subscribe/ and donate here: http://www.nukeresister.org/donate/. And send information about your actions to nukeresister@igc.org.

Many blockades, graffiti, sit-ins, unpermitted marches and other actions expected to result in arrests did not in fact end that way. There are many reports of police accommodating significant disruption, including bridge and highway blockades, while waiting out demonstrators and thus avoiding arrests. Arrests often seemed to be made with the sole intent of ending the demonstration, only for the charges to later be dismissed.

The resistance actions that resulted in arrests span a wide array of tactics, some long under debate within the broader peace movement and among advocates of direct action. With the aim of encouraging prisoner support, we endorse tolerance and constructive criticism of diverse, conscientious action. A principle of any prisoner support work is to address the needs of the person behind bars, regardless of how they got there.

We know that despite our best efforts, we have undoubtedly missed related arrests that should be included here. If you are aware of arrests related to ceasefire/anti-war protest over the last two-plus months, please help us document this part of anti-war history by sending us information about arrests not noted elsewhere on these pages. Please also let us know of any substantial errors in this chronicle so that they can be corrected.

Finally and of primary importance, if you or someone you know about is jailed for anti-war actions, please let us know as soon as possible so that the news can be posted on the Nuclear Resister website and in the next issue of the Nuclear Resister newsletter.


October 11            Boca Raton, FL            3 arrests
About 100 people marched at Florida American University in support of Palestine. Counter-protesters confronted the march as it moved through a breezeway on campus, leading to altercations and the arrest of one student and two others on charges of resisting arrest, battery and disorderly conduct.

October 12            Cambridge, MA            9 arrests
50 people protested outside Israeli arms dealer Elbit Systems’ Cambridge Innovation Center; three chained themselves to the blocked door.

October 13            San Francisco, CA            15 arrests
Protesters padlocked their arms together in front of Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s office, as 200 others chanted, “No more weapons, no more war, peace is what we’re fighting for!”

October 13            New York City, NY            61 arrests
Jewish Voice For Peace (JVP) marched to Sen. Shumer’s Park Slope home. Local lawmakers were among those arrested blocking the street with a sit-in. One woman was held overnight for resisting arrest and related charges. Two arrests of protesters on opposing sides were reported earlier at Times Square.

October 16            Washington, D.C.            49 arrests
If Not Now and JVP activists crossed barriers and blocked four White House entrances calling for a cease fire.

October 18            Boston, MA            6 arrests
Jewish protesters entered the federal building to visit Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s office and call on her to speak out against the war. They were stopped in hallway where they held a sit-in.

October 18            Washington, D.C.            ~500 arrests
Five thousand protesters led by members of JVP, If Not Now, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) and other groups rallied on the National Mall before marching to the Cannon House Office Building, where hundreds passed through security and gathered in the building’s rotunda for a sit-in. Organizers declared it was the largest Jewish protest in solidarity with Palestinians ever.
Their chanted slogans – including “not in our name” and “ceasefire now” – resounded thunderously through the building, while at other times they were led in song by rabbis and cantors.
Those who refused orders to leave the building were led away by police and cited for an illegal demonstration in congressional offices before being released.
JVP said, “Many of us are mourning our Israeli and Palestinian friends and loved ones. We are in pain and grief, trying to process a week of horrific violence that has left so many that we know injured, traumatized, kidnapped, or killed. But we refuse to let our grief be weaponized to justify the murder of more Palestinians. As American Jews, we demand a ceasefire now. No genocide in our name.”

October 19            Skokie, IL            7 arrests
Two dozen people held a sit-in at Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s office calling on the Congressional Progressive Caucus vice-president to support legislation guaranteeing protection and human rights for Palestinians. Office staff connected the demonstrators by telephone with the Representative at her office in Washington. Hatem Abudayyeh, chair of the US Palestinian Community Network, asked her, “If Israel has a right to defend itself, why don’t Palestinians have the right to defend themselves?” Seven people refused to leave the office at the end of the business day and were arrested and charged with trespass before being released.

October 20            New York City, NY            139 arrests
Democratic Socialists of America organized a march from Bryant Park to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s midtown office, then blocked 5th Avenue chanting “Ceasefire Now!” Busloads of arrestees were carried away, issued summons for disorderly conduct and released.

October 21            Columbus, OH            1 arrest
800 people came “All Out for Gaza” for a loud and unpermitted march that began at the Ohio Statehouse and coursed through the city, adding to the usual crowds and traffic disruption of the Ohio State football game that day. A police commander called it “Columbus’s version of a worldwide dialogue” as they monitored the march and took only one person into custody for disorderly conduct.

October 21            Brooklyn, NY            22 arrests
Thousands joined a Within Our Lifetime organized demonstration in Bay Ridge calling for an end to Israel’s occupation. Police used “sound cannons” to disperse the crowd, and some responded with eggs and firecrackers, leading to clashes. Nineteen were charged with disorderly conduct, three also with resisting arrest. Three juveniles were summoned or reported.

October 22            Skokie, IL            1 arrest
Police arrested an Israel supporter for pepper spraying them as ceasefire demonstrators were also attacked outside an Israel support event. Police also arrested one ceasefire demonstrator who was released later without charges.

October 22            Calgary, Alberta            1 arrest
Hundreds demonstrated in Olympic Plaza for a ceasefire. Police arrested one during clashes with pro-Israel counter-demonstrators, two of whom were also arrested.

October 24            Coral Gables, FL            4 arrests
Dozens of JVP South Florida members rallied outside Sen. Rick Scott’s office demanding a ceasefire. “We are particularly concerned that Israel seeks to do this in the name of Jews, and we mean to say that you may not do this in our name,” said Alan Levine, one of those arrested for trespass after they entered the building and blocked the entrance with their signs, then refused to leave.

October 25            Amherst, MA            57 arrests
UMass Students for Justice in Palestine and UMass Dissenters organized a march from the student union to the administration offices to demand the University Chancellor  condemn Israel’s attacks on Gaza and cut the University’s investments and ties with Raytheon and other war contractors. Some 250 students occupied the third floor outside the office for a few hours until the building closed at 6 p.m. Over the next five hours, police arrested 56 students and one university employee, leading them in groups of five to the campus police station for processing.  All were cited for trespass and released by the next morning. Pretrial hearings are set for mid-December.

October 26            New Orleans, LA            3 arrests
Ceasefire protest at an intersection between Tulane and Loyola Universities. Student witnesses say counter demonstrators arrived and one threw an Israeli flag at a truck sporting Palestinian flags. The flag landed in the truck, and when the truck came back around, the driver was holding the Israeli flag and attempted to set it aflame. Fights broke out, resulting in arrests.

October 27            New York City, NY            300+ arrests
JVP’s call brought thousands to Grand Central Station during Friday rush hour. As evening approached, rabbis lit shabbat candles and recited the kaddish. “While Shabbat is typically a day of rest, we cannot afford to rest while genocide is unfolding in our names,” said Rabbi May Ye. “The lives of Palestinians and Israelis are intertwined, and safety can only come from justice, equality and freedom for all.” Demonstrators wearing black t-shirts with bold white letters declaring “JEWS SAY CEASE FIRE” filled the grand hall, shutting down the station.

October 29            San Francisco, CA            2 arrests
Following a three-day public fast for a ceasefire outside Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home, two CodePink activists blocked her SUV from leaving, and were charged with “pedestrians in the road.”

October 30            Toronto, Ontario            6 arrests
Palestine Youth Movement called for ceasefire sit-ins at offices of members of Parliament. Those at the office of Minister of Justice Arif Varani were cited for trespass.

October 30            Toronto, Ontario            7 arrests
World Beyond War and Canadian unionists blockaded the INKAS armored vehicle factory in the North York district, a supplier for Israel’s army. They called for a ceasefire and an end to Canadian arms sales to Israel.

October 30            Cambridge, MA            9 arrests
A Palestine Action US demonstration outside the Cambridge office of Elbit Systems, Israel’s largest arms company, drew 200 people. When activists tried to move a barricade, police charged and a clash ensued. Smoke bombs and eggs were thrown and police used pepper spray. Those arrested face a litany of charges, including vandalizing property, assault and battery on a police officer, possession of an incendiary device (the smoke bombs), resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. All pled not guilty.

October 31            Washington, D.C.            12 arrests
CodePink members stood to shout “Ceasefire now!” and repeatedly interrupted the testimonies of Secretary of State Blinken and Secretary of Defense (sic) Austin during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing. Twelve were eventually removed from the room.

November 1            Providence, RI            2 arrests
Two Rhode Island School of Design students were arrested for vandalism, accused of anti-war graffiti on the building of the arms merchant Textron. Police used surveillance video to track them down in their dorm rooms.

November 2            Durham, NC            4 arrests
Four women were charged with impeding traffic two days after hundreds of ceasefire marchers shut down a major highway for three hours during the afternoon rush hour. All four turned themselves in and were released with a promise to appear.

November 2            Philadelphia, PA            350 arrests
JVP–Philadelphia, Philly Palestine Coalition and If Not Now–Philadelphia brought together an estimated 500 people calling for a ceasefire, including dozens of faith leaders. They took over the major 30th Street train station, blocking access to many platforms and shutting it down during rush hour.

November 2            Washington, D.C.            52 arrests
Ceasefire sit-ins at several Senate offices led to arrests of those in the offices of Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

November 3            Oakland, CA            9 arrests
A blockade at the Port of Oakland delayed for nine hours the departure of a vessel activists believed to be carrying military supplies to Israel. At least three people were detained after climbing a ladder leading to the ship. The same ship was the target of protest at the Port of Tacoma, Washington days later, but no arrests were reported.

November 4            Washington, D.C.            1 arrest
Many ceasefire demonstrations and reports of graffiti across the city resulted in only one arrest after “Free Gaza” graffiti and a window was broken at a McDonald’s restaurant.

November 5            Calgary, Alberta            1 arrest
A man was charged with causing a disturbance with a hate motivation for leading a ceasefire rally in the controversial chant, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” Prosecutors dismissed the charge after widespread protest.

November 8            Coral Gables, FL            1 arrest
Sit-in at the office of Sen. Rick Scott.

November 8            Bangor, ME            7 arrests
Sit-in at the office of Rep. Jared Golden.

November 8            Washington, D.C.            10 arrests
Mostly students from six universities were cited for a ceasefire protest at the House Judiciary Committee hearing.

November 8            Providence, RI            20 arrests
BrownU Jews for Ceasefire were charged with trespass for occupying the administration building, calling on the University to promote peace by divesting in war industries. Charges were dropped after a hate-crime shooting in New Hampshire paralyzed a Palestinian student at Brown who had attended the demonstration.

November 9            Chicago, IL            28 arrests
UChicago United for Palestine students and faculty sit-in at Rosenwald Hall administration building, demanding the University agree to a public meeting and to divest from Israel. Twenty-six students and two professors were cited for trespass.

November 9            Orlando, FL            1 arrest
Florida Palestine Network blocked the road at the C4 Advanced Tactical Systems warehouse. One was charged for resisting without violence after pulling away when a cop tried to stop them from walking in front of a car.

November 9            Chicago, IL            1 arrest
Hundreds protested outside fundraiser for President Biden.

November 9            Washington, D.C.            5 arrests
Catholic peace activists occupied the Hart Senate office building, calling for a ceasefire after forming a cross with their bodies on the lobby floor.

November 9            Washington, D.C.            5 arrests
About Face: Veterans Against War were arrested for a ceasefire sit-in at Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s office.

November 9            Montreal, Quebec            7 arrests
A live-streamed, seven-hour sit-in outside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s local office demanded he call for a ceasefire. They were forcibly removed by police and charged with obstruction.

November 9            Portland, OR            6 arrests
Ceasefire demonstrators, including Reed College students, converged on the World Trade Center office of Sen. Jeff Merkley. Some entered the building and painted slogans on windows before police broke up the demonstration, charging four students and two others with trespass and disorderly conduct, and four with felony criminal mischief.

November 10            New York City, NY            7 arrests
Large evening ceasefire protest outside Grand Central Terminal closed the station.

November 10            Waltham, MA            7 arrests
Ceasefire demonstrators joined a Brandeis University demonstration after Students for Justice in Palestine was banned by the school. Police eventually moved in and stopped the protest, variously charging three students and four others with disorderly conduct, trespassing and battery of an officer. At arraignment, all entered not guilty pleas.

November 10            Portland, ME            7 arrests
Trespass charges for sit-in at Rep. Chellie Pingree’s office.

November 13            Oakland, CA            450 arrests
Hours-long sit-in by JVP, If Not Now and others at the federal building ended with evening arrests and charges of failure to disperse.

November 13            Chicago, IL            106 arrests
Cease fire demonstrators blocked the escalator from the train station leading into Accenture Tower, where the Israeli consulate is located. They were cited for trespass and escorted from the building.

November 14            Vancouver, B.C.            2 arrests
One hundred police clashed with 250 protesters outside the restaurant where Prime Minister Trudeau was dining. One protester was charged with obstructing police; the other for assaulting police.

November 14            Staten Island, NY            5 arrests
Three adults and two juveniles were charged during clashes with police at the “Flood Staten Island for Gaza” demonstration outside Borough Hall.

November 15            Washington, D.C.            1 arrest
Two hundred people demanded a ceasefire outside the Democratic National Committee office. Police moved in forcefully to clear the crowd with pepperspray when all the doors had been blocked, provoking a melee that injured 90 demonstrators and six police. There was one arrest for assaulting police.

November 16            San Francisco, CA            81 arrests
Morning rush hour ceasefire demonstration shut down the Bay Bridge.

November 16            San Francisco, CA            2 arrests
A die-in forced Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation gala attendees to step over bloody effigies of Gaza war casualties.

November 17            Washington, D.C.            3 arrests
Hundreds protested for a ceasefire at Union Station, disrupting Friday rush-hour transit.

November 17            New York City, NY            16 arrests
Shut it Down for Palestine demonstration occupied NewsCorp headquarters over Fox News network support for the war on Gaza.

November 17            New York City, NY            20 arrests
Two entrances to the Bank of New York/Mellon headquarters were blocked by demonstrators demanding divestment from Israeli arms firm Elbit.

November 17            Ann Arbor, MI            40 arrests
Some of 250 demonstrators pushed their way into the Ruthven Administration Building at the University of Michigan, demanding divestment from war industries and genocide. Ten police agencies responded to arrest 40 for trespass, barring them from the building for one year.

November 19            Calgary, Alberta            4 arrests
One hundred marchers out of 2,000 supporting peace and justice for Palestine broke away, leading to arrests when some tried to push through police barriers.

November 20            Merrimack, NH            3 arrests
Palestine Action US activists were arrested on the roof of the Elbit Systems office. The doors had been chained shut, graffiti painted on walls and windows broken, leading to charges of riot, sabotage, criminal mischief, trespass and disorderly conduct.

November 22            Toronto, Ontario            11 arrests
Despite that warrants were issued the previous afternoon in a case of alleged vandalism, police raided seven homes of anti-war activists, including teachers and academics, in the pre-dawn hours. They broke down doors, confiscated computers and cell phones, ransacked property and handcuffed residents who were not among those arrested. The charges are also alleged to be hate crimes associated with graffiti and postering at the Indigo Bookstore, whose owner provides support for Canadians enlisting in the Israeli military.

November 23            New York City, NY            34 arrests
Ceasefire demonstrators joined the Thanksgiving Day parade, some gluing their hands to the pavement and marking themselves with fake blood. Thirty were issued summons and four were criminally charged for trespass, disorderly conduct, harassment and/or resisting arrest.

November 24            Atlanta, GA            8 arrests
Black Friday demonstration at Lenox Square overflowed into the streets, with arrests for refusing to disperse.

November 26            Boston, MA            1 arrest
University of Massachusetts professor was charged with disorderly conduct for leading a demonstration at the Logan International Airport baggage claim area.

November 26            New York City, NY            3 arrests
Hundreds of JVP ceasefire demonstrators blocked the Manhattan Bridge, many wearing bold “CEASEFIRE NOW” t-shirts. Three arrests were made, including for graffiti.

November 28            Washington, D.C.            4 arrests
Demonstrators demanding “Ceasefire Now” were arrested at the Capitol Hill Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

November 29            Pomona, CA            1 arrest
A Claremont Colleges lecturer was charged with trespass while playing music and directing students towards a pro-Palestine protest outside Bridges Auditorium. Campus police confirmed that the professor was, as he told them, “arrested following [his] attempt to leave the area.” Charges were dropped a week later.

November 29            Regina, Saskatchewan            5 arrests
Trespass charges were issued for the blockade of a major rail line demanding a ceasefire, “even if it means putting our bodies on the line against the continued flow of capital.”

November 29            New York City, NY            7 arrests
Police blocked demonstrators from bringing a large Palestinian flag into the traditional tree-lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center, arresting six adults and one juvenile.

November 30            Tucson, AZ            26 arrests
Early morning ceasefire blockades closed two gates of Raytheon’s operations at the University of Arizona Tech Park, leading to trespass charges. A public radio reporter doing her job was among those arrested.

December 1            Montreal, Quebec            9 arrests
Calling for a permanent ceasefire now, activists blocked a rail line to interrupt Canadian support for Israel.

December 3            Denver, CO            12 arrests
A JVP action shut down Speer Boulevard in front of the Jewish National Fund’s annual Global Conference with calls for a ceasefire.

December 6            San Francisco, CA            1 arrest
While faith leaders locked arms and walked across the Golden Gate Bridge in a ceasefire demonstration, one person was arrested as he raised the Palestinian flag on a nearby flagpole.

December 7             Ann Arbor, MI            1 arrest
Protesting the University of Michigan Board of Regents’ policy of investing in Israel and arms, one person was arrested and another escorted out of the board meeting.

To be continued…

Australian Ceasefire Arrests
In Australia, large ceasefire demonstrations have taken place in all the major cities. On November 22, 400 people rallied outside Sydney’s Port Botany, carrying the demand for an end to the war to an Israeli shipping company there. Some blocked the road, and 23 were arrested for failure to comply with police instructions and damage or disruption of a major facility.

Then, on November 27, coordinated blockades were undertaken by smaller groups at the US Consulate in Melbourne and the remote Pine Gap spy base in central Australia. About 25 people demonstrated outside the consular office, throwing red paint on the walls and holding signs saying, “Stop the Genocide” and “Close Pine Gap.” Four who blocked the entrance were cited for trespass related offenses.

That same day, a similar number of activists shut down the US–run satellite communications station at Pine Gap, notorious for providing military surveillance and communication intercepts to US allies around the globe, including Israel. Declan Gilick, an Aboriginal writer from the area, said, “My family resisted the installation of Pine Gap 40 years ago. US militarism wasn’t welcome then and it’s not welcome now.

Palestinians are being bombed relentlessly by a genocidal apartheid regime that uses military intelligence gathered on Arrernte Country and I won’t stand for it.”

A large “Free Palestine” banner was stretched across the entry road, along with the signs “Stop War Crimes in Palestine” and “Close Pine Gap”. Police removed the blockade and arrested two people for traffic and summary offenses.

Palestine Action, UK
Palestine Action (PA), founded in 2020, is a British direct action group intending to shut down international arms merchants, beginning with those in Great Britain that provide weapons to the Israeli Defense Forces for use against the Palestinian people. Activists have repeatedly occupied arms factories and offices, damaging facilities and equipment with red paint and hand tools. In the case of Elbit Systems, PA has driven the company from its London headquarters through repeated direct actions.

Trials in 2023 have already led to prison sentences for half a dozen PA activists. Two were sentenced in May to 16 and 27 months in prison after pleading guilty to an estimated £300,000 in criminal damage at a Leicester factory supplying landing gear for Israeli military drones. In June, after the court had denied the majority of their defenses, including the necessity of preventing a greater crime, four PA activists pled guilty to conspiracy to commit criminal damage.

In December, 2022, they dismantled an estimated £1.2 million worth of military production equipment at Teledyne Labtech in Wales. Three received a prison sentence of 23 months, while the fourth was sentenced to 27 months. British convicts typically serve about half of a custodial sentence behind bars. More than 100 other PA activists await trials.

Trials now underway include that of two PA co-founders among eight people charged for a series of actions taken in 2020 and 2021; two charged with damage to a weapons factory in Oldham in February, 2021; and two for defacing the statue of Lord Balfour in the Houses of Parliament.
For more information about PA actions in Great Britain and prisoner support, visit palestineaction.org or email info@palestineaction.org.