New Orleans Police Arrest Pro-Palestinian Protesters in Jackson Square

Pro-Palestinian protest in New Orleans leads to arrests, injuries as police clear Jackson Square. Highlights ongoing tensions of Israeli-Palestinian conflict and balancing free speech with public space regulations.

Aqsa Younas Rana
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New Orleans Police Arrest Pro-Palestinian Protesters in Jackson Square

New Orleans Police Arrest Pro-Palestinian Protesters in Jackson Square

On Sunday evening, the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) arrested at least 10 protesters in Jackson Square who were demonstrating in solidarity with Gaza and Palestine. According to the NOPD, four officers were injured as protesters resisted and struck them with various items while the police were working to clear the square. Video footage from witnesses shows some protesters holding pro-Palestine signs.

About three dozen Palestinian supporters had gathered in the square earlier on Sunday afternoon, hanging signs, displaying the Palestinian flag, and setting up tents on the lawn around the statue of Andrew Jackson. When police attempted to clear the square at its 7 p.m. closing time, protesters resisted, leading to a scuffle in which the four NOPD officers were injured. Police formed a human barricade and blocked off the area, clearing the square of pedestrians and bystanders by 8 p.m.

Louisiana State Police also responded to the scene to provide assistance to the NOPD. "The critical incident was reported at 7:51 p.m. when an officer called for assistance, following a similar event the previous evening involving arrests and use of tasers," the NOPD stated. The incident is currently under investigation.

Why this matters: The protest and arrests highlight the ongoing tensions and global impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, even in cities far from the region. The incident also raises questions about the balance between the right to peaceful protest and the enforcement of public space regulations.

The demonstration was the latest in a series of protests in the New Orleans metro area stemming from Israel's military campaign in Gaza. The protesters had planned to 'occupy' Jackson Square due to its "racist and exploitative roots," referencing Andrew Jackson's history of ethnic cleansing against Indigenous peoples. Previous pro-Palestinian protests in New Orleans have taken place on Poydras Street, St. Charles Avenue, and near Tulane University, with a brief violent incident involving an attempt to burn an Israeli flag at the university protest. The NOPD confirmed the situation is under active investigation, and no additional details are available at this time.

Key Takeaways

  • 10 protesters arrested, 4 NOPD officers injured in pro-Palestinian protest in Jackson Square
  • Protesters resisted police efforts to clear the square at closing time, leading to scuffle
  • Louisiana State Police assisted NOPD in responding to the incident, which is under investigation
  • Protest highlights tensions over Israeli-Palestinian conflict and right to peaceful protest
  • Protesters planned to 'occupy' Jackson Square due to its 'racist and exploitative roots'