Protesters calling for Gaza ceasefire shut down Bay Bridge in San Francisco

Demonstrators demand President Joe Biden end military aid to Israel as world leaders gather in city for Apec

Protesters chant slogans after shutting down the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge during the Apec Summit. AP
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Dozens of protesters calling for a ceasefire in Gaza shut down a major bridge in San Francisco on Thursday, disrupting traffic as world leaders met for the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation leaders’ conference.

Videos circulating on social media showed protesters who were chained together demanding US President Joe Biden, who is in San Francisco for the summit, call for a ceasefire and end military aid to Israel.

Protesters chanted, “ceasefire now", and laid out large banners reading “Stop genocide” and “no US military aid to Israel".

Several were also seen staging a “die-in” on the bridge, by laying on the ground covered in white sheets.

The protest comes as Mr Biden is taking part in the Apec summit, attended by world leaders and chief executives from around the world, where they have been discussing ways to promote trade, investment and economic development among the nations around the Pacific Ocean.

It also comes as Israeli army forces have taken over Al Shifa hospital in Gaza city, the latest development in the Israel-Gaza war which is now approaching its seventh week.

Israel launched a massive aerial bombardment and an unprecedented ground invasion of the Gaza Strip after Hamas gunmen attacked Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people.

The conflict has caused worldwide protests, and concerns over violations of international law.

The Biden administration has staunchly supported Israel's response, even as the Palestinian death toll in Gaza passed 11,400 people, most of them women and children, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

The administration has also opposed a general ceasefire, saying that Hamas must be eradicated. Mr Biden has also pledged more military aid to Israel.

His response has drawn the ire of Arab and Muslim Americans.

San Francisco city officials said protesters were removed from the bridge.

The sheriff's office said about 80 protesters were cited and then released.

The Palestinian Youth Movement, Bay Area Palestine Solidarity and other local groups took part in the protest.

Updated: November 17, 2023, 7:21 AM