Protesters briefly blocked Boston University bridge to call for cease-fire in Gaza
This story was originally produced by WBUR. We are republishing it in partnership with the New England News Collaborative.
A crowd of demonstrators blocked traffic for about two hours on the Boston University Bridge Thursday morning, calling for Massachusetts politicians to advocate for a cease-fire in Gaza.
The university sent out an alert just before 8:15 a.m., letting students, faculty and staff know the bridge was closed due to the "large demonstration." A small presence of officers from the school, city and state police were at the scene.
Members of the group IfNotNow sat on the road, unfurled a banner and held signs as they blocked rush-hour traffic on the bridge that connects Boston and Cambridge to demand U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) call for a cease-fire in the war between Israel and Hamas. The group IfNotNow consists of Jews in America calling for an end to U.S. financial aid for what it calls "Israel's apartheid system."
"As her constituents, we want to be heard," said Julia Davidovitz, of Boston. "We're part of the 80% of Democrats who believe there should be a cease-fire. If she's not going to listen to us when we go to her office, then we're gonna make our voices as loud as possible here today."
Over the span of the protest, several people addressed the crowd, decrying Israel's actions, and led the protesters in song.
The protesters ended their demonstration on the bridge by around 10:30 a.m., initially marching down to the Commonwealth Avenue side of the bridge, then turning and marching into Cambridge on the off-ramp onto a field on Memorial Drive.
The war began in early October as Hamas attacked Israel, killing about 1,200 people, Israel has responded with airstrikes and a ground offensive in Gaza. More than 11,000 Palestinians, mostly women and and children, have been killed.
On Wednesday, Israeli military began what it calls a "precise and targeted operation" inside Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, the largest medical facility in northern Gaza where thousands of Palestinians were receiving treatment or had taken refuge.
WBUR's Meghan Kelly contributed to this report.