The protesters issued a stark warning to those who support Israel, stating, "Your days are numbered."
An organizer of the protest, speaking into a microphone, declared, "For those who support genocide in the U.S., your days are numbered and are coming to an end." The organizer further accused the U.S. government of being the primary funder of what they termed as "Israel terrorism."
The demonstration, which comprised approximately 300 protesters, commenced at Columbus Circle around 2 p.m. and proceeded up the West Side to the American Museum of Natural History. The protesters then infiltrated The Shops at Columbus Circle, chanting, "Bombs are dropping while you're shopping," which led to store owners hastily closing their doors.
The demonstration took a further unsettling turn when some protesters reportedly harassed a woman carrying a pro-Israel sign, snatching it away from her and a nearby man, and shouting at them. The woman managed to reach the police, who escorted her to safety.
In another symbolic act, a statue of Abraham Lincoln was draped in a Palestinian flag, and a sticker was affixed to its hat, reading, "Every time the media lies, a neighborhood in Gaza dies."
Upon the protesters' arrival at the museum, they found it barricaded, with around 30 officers blocking the entrances. The protesters demanded entry, chanting, "One, two, three, four, open up the museum's doors."
Nerdeen Kiswani, a representative of the pro-Palestinian group Within Our Lifetime, which organized the demonstration, criticized the museum's decision to close early in anticipation of the protest. She accused the museum of being willing to lose substantial revenue to avoid association with Palestine, labeling them as "cowards."
Kiswani stated that the protesters merely intended to enter the museum as regular New Yorkers and view the colonial exhibits. She criticized the museum's decision to lock out people supporting Palestine and alleged that the museum's board includes Zionists.
The demonstration also saw protesters praying outside the museum. While the police threatened to arrest protesters for vandalizing a Starbucks near West 64th Street, no arrests were made as the crowd began to disperse, according to the NYPD.
Kiswani indicated that the protest was a response to Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul's support for Israel. She led a chant, "Israel bombs, USA pays, how many kids did you kill today?" This was followed by another refrain common at pro-Palestinian demonstrations, "Joe Biden, you can't hide, we charge you with genocide."