40 protesters arrested outside O'Hare Airport for blocking traffic; forcing people to walk to terminals

Chicago police arrested 40 pro-Palestine protesters who blocked traffic on westbound Interstate 190, cutting off traffic to O'Hare Airport on Monday morning.

Around 7:50 a.m., police were called to the 10,000 block of West O'Hare Avenue for a gathering of people obstructing motorists, causing a heavy traffic jam, according to Chicago police and a post from the airport on the social media platform X.

Police arrested 31 women and nine men between the ages of 19 and 43 years old and charges were pending, police said in a statement. The flow of traffic resumed around 9:20 a.m.

One person posted a video on X, formerly known as Twitter, of several anxious travelers walking to the airport terminals from the interstate due to the protest blockade.

Social media photos and video of the protest also showed signs that read, "Your tax $ funds genocide." Protesters can be heard chanting "Palestine."

O'Hare International Airport posted on X at 9:04 a.m. that vehicular travel to O'Hare may be delayed due to protest activity. Passengers were encouraged to consider alternative modes of transportation, such as the CTA Blue Line.

In a statement Monday afternoon, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Chicago called the protest "woefully misguided."

"Whatever point these protesters were trying to make was lost on the thousands of people massively inconvenienced by this woefully misguided demonstration," said Sarah Van Loon, regional director of the AJC. "Performative charades like this do nothing to advance the cause of peace."

It wasn’t immediately clear who organized the protest, but reports say demonstrators are opposing U.S. support of Israel as strikes continue in Gaza.

Several other major roadways across the country were blocked by protesters Monday. A pro-Palestine group blocked highway traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge, while I-880 in Oakland, California had a similar issue during rush hour.