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Blockade Protest of AIPAC Fundraiser at Times Square Marriott Hotel
At 6:30 PM on Thursday, January 29, ten young activists peacefully blocked thetwo main entrances to the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square to protestthe annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Fundraising Gala.The action, which lasted just under two hours, coincided with a 250-personprotest rally in front of the hotel, separately organized by the Break theSiege On Gaza Coalition—Student Committee. All ten activists were arrested,spurring the formation of a campaign for their defense and for the consciousescalation of pro-Gaza activism.More than a month after Israel began its massive assault on Gaza and amidstinternational protests, AIPAC held a $1500-a-plate fundraising dinner, itslargest event of the year. The event was attended by prominent businesspeople, lobbyists and U.S. politicians, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The blockade disrupted what the participating activists considereda disgraceful gathering.
The Marriott blockade comes on the heels of several similar actions opposingIsrael's recent conduct that have occurred in cities around the world such as Toronto and San Francisco and at over a dozen universities in England. Inits scope, tactics, and goals, the movement to end the Israeli occupation ofPalestine recalls the movement that arose in opposition to Apartheid in SouthAfrica. Campaign participant Conor Tomás Reed said, "the blockade is acontribution to this international struggle and can serve as a catalyst forfuture actions."