A few dozen protesters stopped traffic on the Bay Bridge Thursday during the morning commute, locking arms and blocking all the westbound lanes just east of Treasure Island.
At least a dozen vehicles were used in two rows to create a blockade across the eastern span of the bridge. The protesters displayed a banner on the roadway, visible from helicopters above, that said "Biden Harris: Ceasefire Now," as NBC Bay Area reports. And some protesters also staged a die-in nearby with a sign that said "11,000 dead."
Other banners said "Stop the Genocide" and "End US Aid to Israel."
The demonstration began around 8 a.m., and CHP's Golden Gate Division put out a traffic advisory at 8:05 a.m. Update: As the Chronicle reports, the CHP made 50 arrests as of 9:30 a.m. and they expected to make about 20 more, and they towed 15 vehicles. It was nearly noon by the time the four left-side lanes reopened on the bridge (with the righthand lane still closed for APEC emergency reasons), and the Chronicle notes that this was the third significant protest to disrupt traffic on the Bay Bridge in the last seven years.
Traffic was backed up significantly into the East Bay Thursday morning as CHP officers began making arrests, with cars being diverted to I-580 and I-880 — and anyone needing to get to SF or the Peninsula needed to use another bridge. Tow trucks also had to be called in to remove protesters' vehicles, as NBC Bay Area notes.
🚨BREAKING🚨: Bay Area residents have SHUT DOWN Bay Bridge to demand ceasefire while @Potus Biden visits San Francisco. #CeasefireNow! No more genocide in Gaza!#BayBridge #CeasefireNow #BidenHarrisCeasefireNOW #APEC pic.twitter.com/xIqkKSc6TB— AROC #FreePalestine (@AROCBayArea) November 16, 2023
The activist group Arab Resource and Organizing Center appeared to be behind the protest, and as SFGate notes, this was the same group that tried to block the entrance to a ship at the Port of Oakland on November 3 that they claimed was delivering weapons to Israel.
Thursday's protest on the bridge followed a slew of protest activities Wednesday, some of which turned violent, as President Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping were meeting in San Mateo County and attending events in San Francisco.