Access To Chicago’s O’Hare Airport Is Blocked By Pro-Palestinian Protestors

( — On Monday April 15, Pro-Palestinian demonstrators shut down essential roadways in Illinois, California, New York and the Pacific Northwest for hours. This blocked traffic on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and disrupted access to some of the nation’s most heavily used airports, such as O’Hare International Airport. One of the organizers, Rifqa Falaneh, called the protests part of a global “economic blockade”. This sort of disruptive activity is sometimes called direct action, which is a way that activists attempt to achieve their goals through economic or physical force rather than through political or democratic means.

One of the groups involved in the protest, Chicago Dissenters, made a post on Instagram indicating that they had chosen Tax Day to stage their interference with city infrastructure to show the world that people will not be allowed to go about their business as usual unless the protestors’ demands are met. Their demands, while shrouded in the usual activist rhetoric, seem to focus on all American support for Israel being withdrawn. They are also calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, which the Israeli government has consistently rejected as Hamas has still not returned all of the hostages they took in their October 7 terrorist attack on Israel.

Many people travelling to O’Hare who were delayed by the protests simply left their vehicles and walked the remaining distance. Chicago Department of Aviation has stated that operations at the airport continued at nearly their usual effectiveness, with delays averaging less than 15 minutes. Some reports suggest as many as 50 people were arrested in connection to the unlawful blockade in Chicago, but it is not yet known what they have been charged with.

Disrupting a nation’s infrastructure is a centuries-old warfare tactic, although it has also been used in modern contexts of protest and terrorism. While there have been no reports of serious consequences from Monday’s extreme demonstrations, there have been fatalities in recent years from similar blockades by activists where people in ambulances or who were otherwise seeking medical aid have died because protestors would not allow their vehicles passage. Many activists believe that these demonstrations are merely irritating inconveniences that bring much-needed attention to their causes, but for some, they may have dire consequences.

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