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Protesters Storm Through Barricades in Attempt to Disrupt Met Gala With Smoke Bombs and Flares

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Updated: | Originally published:

Picket signs, smoke bombs and flares almost mingled with cameras and excited fans as scores of pro-Palestinian protesters tried to make their way to the Met Gala Monday evening to disrupt the lavish affair in New York City.

While celebrities made their fashionable entrances on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), hundreds of protesters convened outside of Hunter College as part of the “Citywide Day of Rage,” where schools across NYC took part in demonstrations protesting Israel’s continued onslaught on Gaza, according to footage shared by reporter Katie Smith on X  (Hunter College is roughly 1.2 miles from the MET). The protesters are demanding Israel pull out of its invasion of Rafah and are calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.

The Pro-Palestinian protesters took to “flooding the streets of New York City in defense of Rafah,” marching up Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, before removing barricades that were blocking access to 5th Avenue and to the museum. Chants of “It’s called, Divest! We will not stop. We will not rest!” could be heard as the group made its way closer to the party.

At around 7:11 p.m., protesters neared the MET and descended down Park Avenue. Some set off smoke bombs and flares. They removed additional barricades on their way.

Footage posted to X appears to show NYPD officers detaining protesters outside of the gala, with others chanting “Let them go” as they stand across the street.

And as various stars made their way up the MET’s steps, the protesters continued taking detours and making sudden turns in a bid to evade NYPD officers, according to Smith. Officers with the NYPD’s Strategic Response Group (SRG) followed but protesters reportedly took to sidewalks before heading back to the street. Smith would later report that the demonstrations were turned around and returned to Park Avenue.

The Office of the Deputy Commissioner, Public Information (DCPI) in New York told TIME a total of 27 individuals were taken into custody in connection with the protests, and the investigation remains ongoing.

Demonstrations and encampments across college campuses in the U.S. and the world have grown steadily in recent weeks, as student and faculty protesters demanded that their institutions divest from companies that support or do business in Israel.

The protests have led to arrests and suspensions of thousands of students, while also having costly impacts on colleges. Columbia University announced on Monday that it would be canceling the university’s main commencement ceremony in favor of smaller ones after discussions with student leaders and following weeks of unrest.

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