Anti-Israel protesters ‘flood’ Brooklyn Museum in occupation backed by pro-Hamas group

A pro-Palestinian demonstrator, upper left, hangs a flag on top of the Brooklyn Museum while occupying the building to protest against Israel over its war with Hamas in Gaza, May 31, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
A pro-Palestinian demonstrator, upper left, hangs a flag on top of the Brooklyn Museum while occupying the building to protest against Israel over its war with Hamas in Gaza, May 31, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)

NEW YORK — Pro-Palestinian protesters against Israel took over parts of the Brooklyn Museum on Friday, hanging a banner above the main entrance, occupying much of the lobby and scuffling with police, witnesses say.

Some arrests were made but a New York Police Department spokesperson says it will be hours before officials had an accurate count. The art museum in the New York City borough of Brooklyn says it closed an hour early due to the disruption.

One of the arrests was of a man who spray-painted an outdoor sculpture, Reuters witnessed. Skirmishes between police and protesters took place inside and outside the building.

“There was damage to existing and newly installed artwork on our plaza,” a museum spokesperson says in an email. “Protesters entered the building, and our public safety staff were physically and verbally harassed.

“Out of a concern for the building, our collections, and our staff, the decision was made to close the building an hour early,” and the public was asked to vacate peacefully, the statement says.

Hundreds of demonstrators were marching through Brooklyn when some of them rushed the entrance, according to the Reuters witness. Security guards prevented many from entering but some managed to get inside.

A banner was hung from atop the neoclassical facade proclaiming, “Free Palestine, Divest From Genocide.”

A pro-Palestinian organization named Within Our Lifetime urged demonstrators to “flood Brooklyn Museum for Gaza,” alluding to the name that Hamas gave to its October 7 terror onslaught that started the war in Gaza. Within Our Lifetime, which praised the Hamas-led attack in the immediate aftermath of the atrocities,  says activists occupied the museum to compel it to disclose any Israel-related investments and to divest any such funding.

Most Popular