Around 500 protesters affiliated with the group Jewish Voice for Peace, including the artists and activists Nan Goldin and Molly Crabapple, took over the base of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbour at around 1pm local time on Monday (6 November) to call for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
The mass sit-in at the National Park Service site on Liberty Island—one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States, with around 4 million annual visitors before Covid-19—coincided with an escalation of Israel’s ground invasion of the Gaza Strip over the weekend. That invasion, in which more than 9,700 people have reportedly been killed according to Gaza Ministry of Health figures cited by BBC News, was launched in retaliation for Hamas’s terrorist attack in Israel on 7 October, in which around 1,400 people were killed and at least 240 were taken hostage.
In a statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, Jewish Voice for Peace said: “Hundreds of Jews and allies are holding an emergency sit-in, taking over the island to demand a ceasefire in Gaza. We refuse to allow a genocide to be carried out in our names.”
Many of the protesters wore matching shirts that read “Not in Our Name” and “Ceasefire Now”. They unfurled banners that feature messages like “The Whole World is Watching” and “Never Again for Anyone”.
Following the protest, a spokesperson for the National Park Service shared this statement: "Today at 1pm, a group of approximately 500 people staged an unpermitted demonstration at the base of the Statue of Liberty with banners and t-shirts. The protest was peaceful, lasting about 30 minutes, after which the group boarded a ferry back to Manhattan. There was no damage to park resources and no arrests were made. US Park Police paused the security screening operation for those entering the monument for the duration of the demonstration. Normal operations have resumed on the island."
In addition to housing Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi’s monumental statue Liberty Enlightening the World (1886), Liberty Island is home to the $100m Statue of Liberty Museum, which was inaugurated in 2019. It features artefacts related to the statue's development, including Bartholdi’s early models and moulds, as well as its original torch and examples of the countless objects featuring its likeness.