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Pro-Palestinian Protests Target Major US Airports During Holiday Travel Season

Pro-Palestinian Protests Target Major US Airports During Holiday Travel Season


In a shocking event, pro-Palestinian protesters blocked off traffic into Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) on December 27.


Photo: Daniel Mena | AeroXplorer


Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)


Many people have been seen pulling barricades and trash into the streets while holding signs in support of Palestine, blocking traffic from entering the airport. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) arrived on the scene in riot gear to break up the protestors who were throwing rocks, cones, and other construction equipment. 




With law enforcement and other agencies issuing a tactical alert, it's been reported that at least a dozen protestors have been arrested thus far and will be charged with riot-related crimes. LAPD and other law enforcement have warned that the group is running around, vandalizing anything and everything in their path.  


Pro-Palestinian protestors blocking a road near LAX | Photo: Fox 11 Los Angeles


John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)


According to reports from multiple sources, John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) has also seen pro-Palestinian protestors blocking traffic. 


Around 11:30 A.M, protestors stopped traffic while holding signs showing support for Palestinians. Police arrived on the scene, bringing some into custody, with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey stating that 26 people were arrested for disorderly conduct and impeding vehicular traffic. 


Pro-Palestinian protestors blocking the road to JFK | Photo: Fox 5 New York


Many are asking if this is a coordinated attack on the U.S. transportation system. More information about this is currently unknown, but something may be happening if there is a systematic protest targeting two of the largest U.S. airports.


Previous Major Protests at Airports


These types of protests are not uncommon around the world. Rather, they are used to capture global attention by making bold statements and destabilizing operations. 




In 2016, Black Lives Matter UK disrupted operations at London City Airport (LCY) in a protest highlighting the environmental impact of air travel on Black communities, with nine activists gaining access to the runway. They erected a tripod and chained themselves together, grounding all flights for six hours. These actions caused over 120 flight cancellations or diversions, impacting thousands of passengers.  


Black Lives Matter protestors confront emergency services on the runway at London City Airport | Photo: Getty Images


In 2019, thousands of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong stormed the city's international airport, Chek Lap Kok International Airport (HKG), one of the busiest in the world, causing hundreds of flights to be canceled. The move dramatically escalated the months-long protests against the Chinese government's increasing control over the semi-autonomous territory.


Protestors occupying Hong Kong International Airport's departure hall and shutting down operations | Photo: Getty Images


Protesters occupied the departure halls, chanting slogans and singing songs calling for democracy and human rights. They also blocked check-in counters and baggage claim areas, bringing the airport to a standstill. The chaos stranded thousands of passengers, many forced to sleep on the terminal floor. 


On May 19, 2023, the first Russian plane in years touched down at Tbilisi Shota Rustaveli Tbilisi International Airport(TBS) in Tbilisi, Georgia, greeted by a wave of protests. Dozens of Georgians gathered outside the airport, their anger palpable amid the fluttering of Ukrainian and Georgian flags and signs displaying "You Are Not Welcome" and "Russia is a Terrorist State," expressing the deep-seated anti-Russian sentiment that remains prevalent in the country following the 2008 war and Moscow's ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Despite Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili's disapproval, this resumption of air travel reflects a complex balancing act for Georgia.


Protestors carrying Georgian and Ukrainian flags at Tbilisi Airport | Photo: Agence France-Presse


With protestors increasingly targeting airports, airport authorities must increase security measures to handle such acts effectively in the future.



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Franco Grobler
Passionate aviation enthusiast from South Africa dedicated to bringing you articles on the latest aviation news, I aim to inspire and inform. I am set on embarking pilot training in 2024 to soar to new heights in the aviation world.

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