Grand Central Terminal came to a standstill on Friday as hundreds gathered for a protest, demanding an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) confirmed the closure in response to the growing demonstration.
Initially, access to the station was limited, but as the protest swelled, the MTA made the decision to shut down Grand Central Terminal. The MTA made an official announcement on its website, stating, “Grand Central Terminal is closed until further notice due to a protest.” Travelers were advised to seek alternate stations and expect longer travel times, as reported by Reuters on Friday.
The demonstrators, many of whom donned black shirts bearing the message “Jews say cease fire now,” occupied the terminal’s expansive concourse, making their demands heard through chants such as “no more weapons, no more war, ceasefire is what we’re fighting for.” Some protesters scaled the ticket counters, unfurling large banners with messages like “Palestinians should be FREE” and “Never again for anyone.”
Banners were also dropped from the staircases within the terminal, accompanied by chants of “Mourn for the dead and fight like hell for the living.” Inside the terminal, a prominently displayed banner echoed the sentiment, reading, “Mourn the dead, and fight like hell for the living.”
The scene was captured on social media, with images showing protesters leaving the train station and gathering on 42nd Street in Midtown Manhattan. Numerous participants were seen being detained by the police.
The protest was organized by the Jewish Voice for Peace, who shared a video on Instagram depicting officers inside the terminal leading a lengthy procession of protesters. These individuals wore shirts with “Cease Fire Now” and “Not In Our Name” written on them, with their hands restrained behind them.
On the same day, Israel expanded its aerial and ground offensives in the Gaza Strip. In response, Hamas, the governing Palestinian militant group in Gaza, declared its readiness to meet the Israeli actions with “full force.”