Christina Lee, Photography Editor

Several pro-Palestine protesters were arrested while participating in a sit-in at Union Station on Thursday night, according to reporting from WTNH.

The arrests came after dozens of protesters blocked the staircase and escalators that lead from the station to the tracks. In the station, protesters also unfurled a banner over the timetables that read “DeLAURO STOP FUNDING GENOCIDE.” Protesters sang, danced, chanted pro-Palestine slogans — including “free, free Palestine” — and locked arms during the sit-in. 

Over a dozen police officers with the New Haven Police Department and Metropolitan Transit Authority Emergency Service stood around the building during the demonstration, according to WTNH.

In a statement to the News, organizers of the sit-in wrote that their demand was for “Rep. Rosa DeLauro [to] stop voting to fund the genocide in Gaza and commit to divestment from the Israeli war machine.” 

On March 24, DeLauro — who represents New Haven in Congress — voted for a $1.2 trillion government funding package which passed overwhelmingly and included $3.3 billion in aid to Israel’s military. Israel disputes charges of genocide.

After U.S. President Joe Biden voiced his support for an immediate six-week ceasefire in his State of the Union address, DeLauro put out a statement on March 7 clarifying her position.

“We must work to get more humanitarian aid into Gaza, free all the hostages held by Hamas, and enact a six-week ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict that allows for the protection and survival of innocent Palestinian civilians caught in the middle of war,” DeLauro wrote. “I am glad that President Biden is using every lever to ensure that desperately needed aid gets to innocent Palestinian civilians, including the recently announced seaport that will be established in Gaza to distribute aid.”

DeLauro did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the protest.

The sit-in at Union Station followed a protest on the New Haven Town Green, which began around 3:30 p.m., when approximately one hundred Yale students and New Haven community members gathered to urge New Haven officials to call for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza. 

The protest was organized by the joint efforts of Yalies4Palestine, Yale Law Students for Justice in Palestine, Citywide Youth Coalition, Students for Justice in Palestine at UConn, Owls for Justice in Palestine and humanitarian activist group We Will Return. Members of political groups such as the Revolutionary Communists of America and Jewish Voice for Peace also joined in solidarity. 

An organizer from the coalition of pro-ceasefire organizations clarified on Friday that the organizers of the rally on the Green had not planned the march to Union Station. During the rally, an organizer learned about the sit-in, which was planned by individuals and not the coalition of organizations. At the end of the rally, the organizers informed protesters that they could march to Union Station to support the action but were not obligated to do so if they felt uncomfortable.

At the rally, organizers highlighted their recent push to encourage registered Democrats to vote “Uncommitted” in Connecticut’s presidential primary on Tuesday, to express dissatisfaction with Biden’s policies regarding the war in Gaza, specifically as Israel has signaled its intention to invade Rafah, a city in the southern part of Gaza.

“We launched a couple of weeks ago the Vote Uncommitted Connecticut campaign,” said a speaker from Vote Uncommitted Connecticut. “Vote Uncommitted Connecticut represents building a coalition — a diverse coalition of workers, students, Muslims, Jews, people of color and people of conscience.” 

In early March, a group of Connecticut residents unveiled a campaign to vote “Uncommitted” on the Democratic presidential primary ballot to show support for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

Advocates in New Haven and across the state have engaged in protests since October in support of a permanent ceasefire to end Israel’s military offensive in Gaza, through which Israel has killed over 32,000 people in Gaza, though experts believe thousands more to be dead under the rubble. Israel has undertaken the offensive in response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel, in which Hamas killed 1,200 people and took 250 people as hostages.

Biden has previously expressed support for a six-week ceasefire but has stopped short of calling for a “permanent” ceasefire, which many American voters support, according to polls.

Although Connecticut’s Primary Day is on Tuesday, early voting is already underway. Connecticut’s Democratic primary ballot will have four candidate options, and the option to vote “Uncommitted.” However, Biden has already earned enough delegates in other states’ primaries to be named the Democratic nominee.

At the protest, organizers also criticized New Haven’s Board of Alders. Pro-ceasefire organizers introduced a resolution calling for a ceasefire to the Board in November. Board president Tyisha Walker-Myers moved the ceasefire resolution to the Committee of the Whole in February, and the committee will meet to hear testimony on the resolution on May 1 over Zoom.

Kirill Staklo, a speaker representing the Connecticut branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, expressed frustration at the committee meeting date.

“They want this to go on for months, they don’t see the urgency,” Staklo said.

After the speakers had finished, the crowd of protesters marched over a mile from the Green to New Haven’s Union Station, where they held the sit-in.

The protesters emphasized the importance of blocking public spaces to make people “uncomfortable.”

“I implore you all on April 2 get out and vote,” said Zachary Herring ENV ’24, a protester involved with JVP. “Right now I implore you all to stick around and clog up the streets so people aren’t comfortable – like us right now. ”

In advance of the protest, Yale’s chapter of Faculty for Justice in Palestine released a statement supporting the protesters and the civil disobedience action. Yale’s FJP chapter was joined by those from ten other schools.

In the statement, faculty expressed their “unequivocal support” of the protest and sit-in and their commitment to defending students from any repercussions they face as a result of their participation in the protest.   

“Their carefully planned interruption of business as usual reminds us that there is no business as usual when the United States is funding, arming, and defending the genocide in Gaza,” the statement reads. “If today’s action demonstrated how the flow of our days grinds to a halt when the infrastructure we depend on does not run properly, it is a reminder of the fact that the Gaza strip has been without working transportation, including serviceable roads, since late October.”

On Primary Day, polls will be open across the city from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. for voters to cast their ballots.

Nathaniel Rosenberg contributed reporting.

This is a developing story that the News will continue to follow.

Correction, March 29: This article has been updated to reflect that the sit-in at Union Station was not planned by the organizers of the rally on the Green.

Ariela Lopez covers City Hall and City Politics. Originally from New York City, she is a first-year in Branford College.