Hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters forced the temporary closure of Grand Central Terminal Friday evening as they staged a massive sit-in in the station concourse.
Train service was halted around 7:30 p.m. and the MTA ordered Metro North customers to take the subway to the Harlem-125th Street station in order to catch a northbound train.
Protesters wearing black shirts reading “Jews Say Cease Fire Now” filled the station’s vast lobby and some demonstrators climbed to the top of the ticket counter with large banners reading “Palestinians should be FREE” and “Never again for anyone”.
Others unfurled banners from the top of the terminal stairs and chanted “Mourn for the dead and fight like hell for the living.”
“No more guns. No more war. We are fighting for the ceasefire,” protesters also chanted at one point. Others demanded an end to Israel’s “genocide” of the Palestinians.
The sit-in, organized by Jewish Voice for Peace, comes hours after the Israeli military announced plans to “expand” its ground operations in the isolated enclave where some 7,000 Palestinians have been killed.
Access to the station was initially restricted before the MTA announced its closure due to the protests.
“Grand Central Terminal is closed due to a protest in the area,” the MTA tweeted. “Customers should travel to Harlem-125th St for Metro-North service to points north.”
Video from the scene shows protesters chanting “Let us pass” in front of a police barricade as they tried to enter the station from the street.