Masked protester signs ‘Kill the hostages now’ during New York’s Israel Day parade

New York’s Israel Day parade turned heated Sunday as pro-Israel protesters clashed with counter-protesters, one of whom held a sign reading “Kill the hostages now.”

The counter-protester wore a black mask and carried a Palestinian flag as he held up the inflammatory sign. The police pushed him to side with him so as not to aggravate an already tense situation.

Demonstrators from the pro-Israeli camp chanted for the release of hostages taken in October. 7 Hamas attack in southern Israel which sparked the war in Gaza. Hamas militants have killed around 1,200 people – mostly civilians – and kidnapped around 250. Around 100 hostages remain in Gaza, along with the bodies of around 30 others.

People chanted “Bring them home now!” and waved Israeli flags as they marched on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan for what this year was called “Israel the Fifth Day.”

A person holding a “Kill the hostages now” sign is pushed back into the crowd of Palestinian protesters by NYPD officers near the fifth Israel Day parade, June 2, 2024, in New York. (Adam Gray/Getty Images)


The protest brought increased security, with New York police officials using measures typically used for high-profile events such as New Year’s Eve and the Fourth of July. This included drones, K-9 units, bicycle patrols, fencing and barriers, and designated entry points for spectators along the parade route. Backpacks, large bags and coolers were prohibited, and spectators had to pass through metal detectors.

Supporters of Israel hold up signs showing the faces of some hostages taken by Hamas

People, including families of hostages, march ahead holding a “Bring Them Home Now” sign during the fifth Israel Day parade, June 2, 2024, in New York. (Adam Gray/Getty Images)

The parade, now in its 59th edition, began Sunday morning in the presence of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Governor of New York. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams are present.

Police reported no arrests related to the parade Sunday afternoon.

The parade represents the first large-scale Jewish event held in the city since the start of the war, although there have been around 2,800 demonstrations in the city, including around 1,300 related to the conflict.


More than 36,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza by the Israeli offensive, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry. Its count does not differentiate between civilians and combatants. Israel blames Hamas for the civilian deaths, accusing it of operating from dense residential areas.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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