Nearly 100 demonstrators protesting outside a New York City Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office were arrested Saturday after blocking a major Manhattan freeway.
The protest was non-violent, with people just sitting down with linked arms, but they were nonetheless arrested for shutting down the major highway. Parts of the West Side Highway were temporarily shut down because of the anti-ICE protest, New York City’s official emergency notification system alerted locals.
“Due to protest, all lanes of the West Side Highway are closed at West 26th Street in both directions in Manhattan. Consider alt routes,” the notification said, according to The Hill. It was closed for about an hour before the lanes in both directions were reopened.
The protesters also held signs that read “Abolish ICE” and “Close the camps” and chanted “ICE lurks here.”
“We are protesting the camps at the border and the children being separated from their parents,” Miriam Bernstein said, adding that the protest location was chosen because ICE has offices nearby.
Fox News writes that the federal agency has come under intense scrutiny after reports emerged of the separation of migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border and unsanitary conditions at detention facilities. Republicans have sought to shift the blame on policies enacted under former President Barack Obama.
“I am absolutely infuriated by children being broken up and split from their families as our government detains people rounded up all these immigrants last week,” said Nikki Blazek.
Those arrested Saturday were charged with disorderly conduct and released. The protest followed a number of others across the U.S. against different Trump administration policies targeting undocumented immigrants.