Access to busy NYC airport’s international terminal restricted due to pro-Palestinian protest

Jan 1, 2024, 3:57 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Access to a busy terminal at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport was restricted Monday as pro-Palestinian protesters converged on the airport for the second time in a week.

Videos posted online show heavy traffic and a slow-moving line of cars, some flying Palestinian flags and featuring text on the windows such as “Stop the genocide.” Police directed a line of cars around a checkpoint. Protesters also had planned to arrive at the airport in Queens, New York, by public transportation.

The New Year’s Day action was the latest in a series of protests around the nation calling for a cease-fire since the Israel-Hamas war broke out on Oct. 7. Last Wednesday, activists brought traffic to a standstill on an expressway leading up to JFK for about 20 minutes. Protesters shut down a major thoroughfare leading to the Los Angeles International Airport on the same day.

Entry into JFK’s Terminal 4 was temporarily restricted Monday afternoon to ticketed passengers, employees and people with what authorities consider a valid reason to be there, such as passenger pickups, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the region’s airports.

Similarly, AirTrain access was temporarily restricted to ticketed passengers and employees.

“The Port Authority, in coordination with our local, state, and federal partners, has deployed safety and security measures to help ensure an uninterrupted travel experience at JFK,” port authority spokesperson Seth Stein said in an email.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey didn’t report any arrests.

City officials had warned people flying out of JFK on Monday, a busy travel day, to get to the airport early because of the protests.

Police said the caravan of cars was later headed to protest outside LaGuardia Airport, which is also in Queens.

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Access to busy NYC airport’s international terminal restricted due to pro-Palestinian protest