Far-left, pro-Palestinian demonstrators block traffic into Chicago airport, delaying travelers

Passengers walk to a security checkpoint at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, April 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Passengers walk to a security checkpoint at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, April 15, 2024. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Far-left, pro-Palestinian demonstrators have blocked a highway leading to three Chicago O’Hare International Airport terminals, temporarily stopping vehicle traffic into one of the nation’s busiest airports, and causing headaches for travelers.

Protesters linked arms and blocked lanes of Interstate 190 around 7 a.m., a demonstration they said was part of a global “economic blockade to free Palestine,” according to Rifqa Falaneh, one of the organizers. Traffic in the San Francisco Bay Area was also snarled for hours on Monday morning, as pro-Palestinian demonstrators shut down both directions of the Golden Gate Bridge and stalled a 17-mile (27-kilometer) stretch of Interstate 880 in Oakland.

O’Hare warned travelers on the social platform X to take alternative forms of transportation, with car travel “substantially delayed this morning due to protest activity.”

Videos posted to social media showed some travelers exiting vehicles and walking alongside the highway, wheeling suitcases behind them.

While individual travelers may have been delayed, operations at the airport appeared near normal with delays of under 15 minutes, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation.

Inbound traffic toward O’Hare resumed around 9 a.m.

Dozens of protesters were taken into Chicago police custody, according to Falaneh. Police did not immediately have further details.

Protesters say they chose the location, in part, because O’Hare is one of the largest airports. Among other things, they have called for an immediate ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas.

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