Angry commuters confront pro-Palestinian protesters blocking LA freeway during rush hour

Fed-up commuters took matters into their own hands in dealing with pro-cease-fire protesters who blocked a downtown Los Angeles freeway on Wednesday morning.

Despite police being there to keep an eye on the demonstration, footage from the scene showed multiple motorists getting out of their vehicles and physically confronting the dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters who sat in a row across the southbound 110 Freeway, one of the busiest and most congested roads in the city.

The far-left anti-Israel group IfNotNow, which says it represents members of the Jewish community, organized the protest to call for a cease-fire in the Israel-Gaza war. They chanted in English and sang songs in Hebrew, and even put up a large menorah in the middle of the freeway.

At points during the demonstration, footage showed the protesters screaming “Shut it down!” in unison as a call to end the war raging in the Middle East.

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Those stuck in the traffic jam behind the rally grew impatient, with some getting out and roughing up the demonstrators. Aerial footage from local outlet KCAL News showed one angry commuter pinning a protester against the hood of a car, while onlookers yelled. 

FOX 11 aerial reporter Stu Mundel described the scene from a helicopter, saying, “Now you can see that line of folks right now, and they’ve basically shut down – not basically – they have completely shut down the 110 freeway out here in downtown Los Angeles.”

The reporter then described the reactions of the angry motorists, saying, “But the drivers – well, this is Los Angeles – and stopping the 110 freeway, tempers are starting to flare down there. You can see a lot of emotion starting to explode.”

“We actually saw a couple fist fights just take place,” Mundel reported. 

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Elsewhere, he remarked that the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has “taken a passive stance on this,” and added that “the drivers, they are just not having any part of this.”

As Mundel spoke, the camera panned out and showed a massive line of cars backed up on the freeway, at a standstill thanks to the pro-Palestinian protesters. Some motorcyclists could be seen pushing through the small gaps in the demonstrator’s line. 

The L.A. Times reported, “Some in the crowd grabbed and shoved demonstrators, throwing a traffic cone and protest signs across the freeway. A motorcyclist behind the protest line revved his engine repeatedly.”

The police started detaining protesters around 10 a.m. local time, about an hour after the traffic blockage was first reported, according to The Times. “A tow truck was called to remove protesters’ vehicles that were left blocking traffic. By around 10:30 a.m., the last protester had been led away, and the freeway was fully reopened by 11:30 a.m.,” the outlet said. 

According to law enforcement, 75 protesters were arrested for not complying with a dispersal order. CHP Officer Roberto Gomez said that incidents of physical violence at the scene would be investigated. 

In a statement, a spokesperson for IfNotNow, the group behind the rally, described the highway rally as a desperate act to raise awareness about the plight of Gazans. 

“We have tried everything else. We have called, we have marched, we have sung, we have prayed. We have written letters and visited offices. Yet politicians like President Biden continue to stonewall, and Israel continues to slaughter innocent Gazans by the thousands. Enough. We cannot wait another day,” the group said.

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