Pro-Palestinian Arab demonstrators in New York (archive)
Pro-Palestinian Arab demonstrators in New York (archive)REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs

Police arrested at least a dozen protesters on Saturday afternoon as a crowd of pro-Palestinian Arab demonstrators marched in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, reports The New York Daily News.

Violence erupted when observers said a large number of police officers tried to push the group of some 200 or more marchers, waving Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) flags, onto the sidewalk along Fifth Ave. near Ovington Ave. on the local shopping strip in the heavily Arab-American neighborhood.

Posted videos show officers struggling with several demonstrators in a general melee.

The protest, held by the organization Within Our Lifetime, was called the “Nakba 76”, a reference to the 76th anniversary of what Arabs view as the “Nakba” or the catastrophe, as they see it, of the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

Video posted on X by the organizing group showed protesters chanting, “Muslim cops, what do you say? How many kids did you beat today?”, to the beat of a drum, while some set off green and red smoke flares.

The NYPD could not immediately confirm the number of protesters arrested.

Anti-Israel demonstrations have been on the rise in New York, as well as in other cities across the US, since Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7 and the war in Gaza which followed.

Last week, hundreds of anti-Israel protesters took over the Manhattan Bridge, blocking vehicles on the bridge’s upper level and stalling traffic.

Some of the protesters, as well as journalists on hand reporting on the demonstration, were taken into custody.

Days earlier, a Jewish man was assaulted during an anti-Israel demonstration intended to disrupt the Met Gala.

In late March, hundreds of anti-Israel protesters descended on Radio City Music Hall ahead of President Joe Biden’s campaign fundraiser as part of a “Flood Manhattan for Gaza” demonstration.

“Free, free Palestine!” the group chanted. Others yelled “F—k Joe Biden” and “Genocide Joe has got to go!”

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

The NYPD reported a spike in antisemitic crimes in New York City in March.

There were 43 antisemitic incidents in the five boroughs reported to police in March, more than double the 17 reported in February.