Demonstrators block Manhattan Bridge amid holiday travel, demanding Gaza ceasefire

Hundreds of Jewish protesters demanding a permanent cease-fire in Gaza shut down the Manhattan Bridge in both directions on Sunday. 

The protest came as a travel nightmare for drivers.

Traffic came to a complete standstill on one of the busiest travel days as many New Yorkers headed home after the busy Thanksgiving holiday.

PREVIOUSLY: NYPD mobilizes massive presence as thousands march up 6th Avenue

Pro-Palestine protesters demanding a Gaza ceasefire block the Manhattan Bridge in both directions between Manhattan and Brooklyn in New York City on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023. (Gardiner Anderson/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

"I support their protest, I think, but I don't think blocking the bridge would be a good idea," a man on the bridge said. 

Loud honking and yelling could be heard as cars piled up on the bridge. 

"I think they are getting the message across for sure," one driver said. 

"I'm trying to get home to my wife, but sadly that is not the case anytime soon," another man said.

The NYPD said several people have been arrested and that the bridge is slowly reopening.

 A New York police spokesperson could not immediately provide an exact number of how many people were arrested.

PETAH TIKVA, ISRAEL - NOVEMBER 26: People await the arrival of a helicopter enroute with Israeli hostages released earlier by Hamas arriving at Schneider medical centre on the third day of the temporary truce where they disembarked behind screens as

The fragile cease-fire between Israel and Hamas was back on track Sunday as the militants freed 17 more hostages, including 14 Israelis and the first American, in a third exchange under a four-day truce that the U.S. said it hoped would be extended. 

In turn, Israel released 39 Palestinian prisoners.

Most hostages were handed over directly to Israel, waving to a cheering crowd as they arrived at an air force base. 

Others left through Egypt. Israel’s army said one was airlifted to a hospital, and the director of Soroka Medical Center said Elma Avraham, 84, was in life-threatening condition as "a result of an extended period of time when an elderly woman was not taken care of as needed."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.