UPDATE: Bay Area residents shut down Bay Bridge, demand President Biden call for ceasefire

Protesters block the Bay Bridge

UPDATE: The Bay Bridge reopened to westbound traffic and several protestors have been arrested, says a spokesperson for the California Highway Patrol.

The bridge reopened to westbound traffic just before noon after police arrested protesters at the scene and towed multiple cars. The exact number of people arrested and cars towed was not yet available.

The spokesperson urged drivers to be patient as CHP works to get westbound traffic moving again.

SAN FRANCISCO — Bay Area residents have shut down San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge to demand President Joe Biden call for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and end U.S. military aid to Israel, according to a press release.

On Thursday morning, a diverse group of Bay Area residents locked arms and unfurled a banner reading “Biden Harris: Ceasefire Now” across all lanes of westbound traffic while others held a “die-in,” covering their bodies in white sheets and placards that read “11,000 dead.” Biden is visiting San Francisco for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit to discuss trade with Chinese President Xi Jinping and others.

“We are beyond grief watching thousands of our loved ones murdered by the Israeli military. There is a genocide happening in Gaza, and President Biden is hosting cocktail parties in San Francisco right now,” Aisha Nizar, with the Palestinian Youth Movement, said in a statement. “We refuse to stand by as our elected officials pay for and cheer on the genocide of Palestinians. Biden must call for a ceasefire now.”

Israel has killed more than 11,100 people, or one out of every 200 people in Gaza, since Oct. 7, when it launched an air assault that leveled many neighborhoods, leaving 1.5 million people homeless in the process. Hospitals are out of electricity, fuel and supplies, forcing them to operate on patients without painkillers. The lack of fuel and electricity led to the death of three babies on ventilators in the neonatal intensive care unit at Al Shifa hospital and an additional 36 babies had to be respirated by hand.

The Biden administration has offered to send more military aid to Israel, which receives an annual $3.8 billion from the U.S.

“President Biden could end this genocide today, but instead, he’s using our tax dollars to pay for it,” Shana Kim, with Bay Area Palestine Solidarity, said in a statement. “I was born in San Francisco, land that was also violently stolen from the Ohlone people through a genocide. The billions that Biden is sending to fund Israel’s war crimes is money that we need to be using here for housing, healthcare, and education.”

Photo caption: Demonstrators block traffic on the Bay Bridge on Thursday, Nov. 16. (Submitted by the Palestinian Youth Movement)

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