Pro-Palestinian Protests Erupt Across California

Pro-Palestinian Protests Erupt Across California

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators occupy an outdoor shopping mall and call for a permanent ceasefire in the war in Gaza, in Los Angeles on April 15, 2024. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Travis Gillmore

Travis Gillmore

4/16/2024

Updated: 4/16/2024

Protesters disrupted commutes and affected businesses in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and across the country with organized activities April 15, with another incident targeting a weapons manufacturer April 16.
General Dynamics’ facility in Healdsburg, a quaint upscale community in California’s North Bay, was targeted by protesters Tuesday morning. Headquartered in Virginia, the ordnance manufacturer makes guidance systems for advanced munitions and missiles at the Northern California plant.
Over one dozen protesters blocked access to its shipping and receiving driveway at about 6:30 a.m. The group stretched large banners reading “block the bombs, free Palestine” and “General Dynamics profits off genocide.” Approximately 30 more protesters joined the blockade within the hour.
After several hours of chanting and drumming, the group dispersed without incident.
While doors were kept locked after the protest, an employee with General Dynamics declined to comment when The Epoch Times arrived at the facility.
No arrests were made, and the protesters had a police liaison communicating with local officials, according to the Healdsburg Police Department.
“The crowd was very respectful,” Sgt. Frank Patane told The Epoch Times. “It was one of the most peaceful protests I’ve seen.”
The day before, several incidents occurred intending to harm the nation’s economic vitality, organized by a group calling itself A15 Action—with a stated goal of coordinating economic blockades to free Palestine, according to the group’s website.
More than 100 protesters blocked a Tesla plant in Fremont in the East Bay Monday evening for several hours. Trucks were prevented from making deliveries, leading to a long line of big rigs waiting to enter the facility.
Approximately one dozen Fremont police responded in full riot gear and set up a temporary fence to block the protesters’ progress, and when the crowd became unruly and moved the barricade, officers fired pepper balls at those responsible, a spokesperson for the Fremont Police Department told The Epoch Times April 16.
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators call for a permanent ceasefire in the war in Gaza, in Los Angeles on April 15, 2024. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators call for a permanent ceasefire in the war in Gaza, in Los Angeles on April 15, 2024. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

After retreating slightly and then re-grouping, the crowd ultimately dispersed when an organizer got on a bullhorn and called the protest a success.
No injuries or arrests were reported, according to the police department.
Earlier in the day, all lanes of Interstate 880 in the East Bay area were obstructed by protesters early in the morning when activists chained themselves to barrels weighted down with concrete. Such created obstacles to clearing the scene, according to CHP officers.
“They prevented law enforcement and paramedics,” CHP officials said at a press conference April 16. “We’re here to protect your right to protest, but you can’t block roadways.”
CHP arrested 38 protesters, with one charged with a felony for false imprisonment for blocking some drivers, keeping them stuck in place for about four hours.
Others blocked the Golden Gate Bridge’s southbound lanes entering the city—the busiest during morning rush hour—with CHP blocking the northbound lanes while they worked to clear the protest.
The law enforcement agency sent a warning to anyone planning similar actions.
“Attempting to block or shut down a freeway or state highway to protest is unlawful, dangerous, and prevents motorists from safely reaching their destinations,” officials said in an April 16 press release. “As necessary, the CHP will take enforcement action that includes, but is not limited to, issuing citations, impounding vehicles, arresting individuals who intentionally block traffic on the state’s transportation system or pose a threat to public safety.”
The Golden Gate Bridge is pictured after Pro-Palestinian demonstrators blocked it for hours in San Francisco, California on April 15, 2024. Pro-Palestinian demonstrators blocked San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge on April 15, 2024, completely halting traffic for hours as part of a coordinated day of action against Israel's war in Gaza. (Paul Kuroda/AFP via Getty Images)

The Golden Gate Bridge is pictured after Pro-Palestinian demonstrators blocked it for hours in San Francisco, California on April 15, 2024. Pro-Palestinian demonstrators blocked San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge on April 15, 2024, completely halting traffic for hours as part of a coordinated day of action against Israel's war in Gaza. (Paul Kuroda/AFP via Getty Images)

Hundreds of protesters also took to the streets in downtown Los Angeles calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war and the end of U.S. tax dollars funding the conflict in the Middle East.
Nationwide, the group targeted the Brooklyn Bridge with similar chants and blocked the entrance to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.
Looking to “cause pain to the economy,” according to the group’s website, organizers said they are looking for opportunities to raise awareness about the issues affecting Palestinians.
One Bay Area resident said the efforts are potentially detrimental to the group’s stated goals, as many commuters and innocent bystanders are affected by such blockades.
“We’re just trying to get to work,” Alameda County resident Mark Robinson told The Epoch Times. “I’m all for freedom to protest, but they might want to rethink how they’re affecting the regular people if they expect us to side with them.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom also expressed concern about the level of disruption caused by the group’s activities.
“I respect freedom of speech, the right to protest, in fact I revere it, it’s foundational, and I certainly respect the cause around the ceasefire,” Mr. Newsom said during an April 16 press conference on another issue. “But I think there’s a better way of expressing it than denying people the right to get to work or someone in an emergency that can’t get to their destination.”
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Travis Gillmore

Travis Gillmore

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Travis Gillmore is an avid reader and journalism connoisseur based in California covering finance, politics, the State Capitol, and breaking news for The Epoch Times.

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