San Francisco
San FranciscoiStock

78 protesters were ordered to do five hours of community service and pay restitution to avoid criminal proceedings for allegedly blocking traffic on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge for hours in November to demand a ceasefire in Gaza, prosecutors said, according to The Associated Press.

The November 16 protest came as San Francisco was hosting President Joe Biden and other world leaders for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

“This is a victory not only for those exercising their right to protest a genocide being fueled by their tax dollars, but for the growing global movement demanding freedom for the Palestinian people,” Aisha Nizar, one of the protesters, said in a news release. “We emerge from this case even stronger and more united in our commitment to one another and to the people of Palestine.”

About 200 protesters participated in the San Francisco demonstration during the global trade summit, blocking all lanes of traffic into San Francisco on the bridge’s upper deck, with some drivers tossing their keys into the bay. 80 people were arrested, and 29 vehicles were towed.

The 80 suspects faced charges of false imprisonment, refusing to comply with a peace officer, unlawful public assembly, refusing to disperse and obstruction of a street, sidewalk or other place open to the public, according to AP. Prosecutors dropped one case for insufficient evidence, and another person declined the court’s offer for a pre-trial diversion program.

The remaining 78 accepted the court’s offer, which will include each person paying a to-be-determined restitution amount to someone who needed to be evacuated from the bridge, according to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.

The November protest was one of many anti-Israel demonstrations that have taken place across the US since Hamas’ October 7 attack and the war in Gaza which followed.

Just this week, hundreds of protesters demanding a ceasefire in Gaza and calling for an end to US military assistance for Israel blocked the international terminal at the San Francisco International Airport.

Last month, multiple anti-Israel protesters were arrested after they used cars to halt traffic at the Brooklyn Bridge and two major tunnels during rush hour.

In late December, 26 protesters were arrested during an anti-Israel demonstration that blocked a road to John F. Kennedy International Airport.

A day later, pro-Palestinian Arab protesters shut down the entrance to the World Trade Center in New York City.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)