07 May 2024, 11:42

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators protest outside the Met Gala

NEW YORK, May 7, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - Protesters in New York converged near the Met Gala on Monday in a rally against the ongoing war in Gaza, leading to several arrests, police said.

Among the rallying points were the gates of Columbia University, which has been the center of spreading demonstrations, before protesters marched through Manhattan to American fashion's biggest night -- or at least as close as police would let them.

The Met Gala, which attracts celebrities, fashion designers and mass media attention, is a yearly mammoth fundraiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute.

It was unclear how many arrests were made as stars walked the carpet and posed for photos, but AFP journalists confirmed several arrests while the New York Daily News reported the number was about a dozen, out of hundreds that gathered near the soiree.

Organizers on X, formerly Twitter, posted a flier for an event dubbed as the "Citywide Day of Rage for Gaza."

Monday's protest appeared unconnected to the demonstrations that have rocked Columbia's campus, culminating in the university calling the police to clear out student protesters.

Despite growing concern from a number of young voters and some members of Joe Biden's Democratic Party over the growing civilian death toll, the president has continued to support US ally Israel in its war in Gaza.

Under domestic pressure from the left and the right in an election year, Biden has tried to walk a thin line, pushing for a ceasefire deal and warning Israel not to invade the Gazan city of Rafah -- though he has not stopped US arms from flowing to the country or conditioned future aid.

Hamas's unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Militants also abducted 250 hostages on October 7, of whom Israel estimates 128 remain in Gaza, including 35 whom the military says are dead.

Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel launched a retaliatory offensive that has killed at least 34,735 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.


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