Protests Temporarily Stops Traffic Outside Airport

A major event unfolded at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. On April 15, 2024, a significant protest took a dramatic turn as pro-Palestinian groups blocked the entrance to one of the country’s largest airports, causing a major disruption for travelers.

Several groups of protesters took to the Interstate 190 access road, which is the main route to O’Hare from the Kennedy Expressway. They effectively blocked all lanes of traffic headed towards the airport. Protesters were seen sitting with their arms interlocked, displaying signs that read “Free Palestine” and “Stop Genocide.” The visuals shared on Instagram show the extent of the blockade, with many travelers forced to exit their vehicles and walk the rest of the way to the airport with their luggage in tow.

The protest aimed to disrupt the day-to-day operations of companies like Boeing, which, according to the protesters, sell weapons to Israel. They chose this day for their demonstration because it coincides with Tax Day here in the U.S., highlighting their message against U.S. government funding for Israeli military actions in Gaza. The group known as Chicago Dissenters made their stance clear on social media, stating that there would be “NO business as usual while Palestinians suffer at the hands of American funded bombing by Israel.”

In response to the blockade, the Chicago Department of Aviation advised people headed to O’Hare to expect substantial delays on I-190 and recommended using the CTA Blue Line as an alternative route to the airport. Those needing to reach the terminals could get dropped off at the nearby Rosemont or Cumberland station stops.

The protest kicked off around 8:30 a.m. and lasted for about 45 minutes, with traffic resuming around 9:15 a.m. During the blockade, a video captured by a passenger shows the impact outside the terminals, with dozens of people stranded on the curb, unable to be picked up or dropped off by cars or shuttle buses.

This event at O’Hare was part of a larger series of protests dubbed an “economic blockade for a free Palestine,” which also saw similar actions in other cities. In California, protesters blocked traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge and all northbound lanes of Interstate 880 in Oakland.

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