Departures at South Terminal outside at Atlanta airport
Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

Protesters Blocking Access Roads to Airports: What Should Be Done About Them?

This is not the first time this has happened. Nor will it be the last.

Activists who sympathize with the people who identify as Palestinians blocked the access road of O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on Interstate 190 earlier today, Monday, April 15, 2024 to let themselves be known and heard with regard to their cause. The main problem is that protests do not belong on access roads at airports. What should be done about protesters blocking access roads to airports?

Protesters Blocking Access Roads to Airports: What Should Be Done About Them?

A massive traffic jam was caused by the blockage and resulted in people either walking to the terminals or missing their flights. Dozens of people were reported to have been arrested by law enforcement officers at the airport.

Protesters sat down in the middle of the roadway, wore masks over their faces, and held banners which demanded an end to the war between Hamas and Israel — as well as expanded rights for Palestinian people. Traffic was immobile for approximately 20 minutes on Interstate 190 in Chicago.

Both the Golden Gate Bridge and Interstate 880 in the Bay Area of San Francisco were also blocked by protesters earlier today for the same cause.

The access roads of both John F. Kennedy International airport and Los Angeles International Airport were blocked by activists on Wednesday, December 27, 2023 to let themselves be known and heard with regard to the same cause.

Final Boarding Call

Although the protests were mostly peaceful, they were also disruptive and unlawful. Innocent people who were simply attempting to travel were greatly — and unnecessarily — inconvenienced. My guess is that most of those travelers who were impacted by the protests ultimately did not sympathize with the cause of the activists when all was said and done.

The activists have every right to peacefully protest whatever cause in which they truly believe; and I fully support that right — whether or not I agree with their cause…

…but numerous other more appropriate places to be heard are available than blocking the access roads of airports. Needlessly inconveniencing people typically does not solve problems or issues. Rather, more problems and issues are usually caused — as well as increased animosity towards the people who attempt to advance their cause.

What if someone’s life depended on an emergency vehicle attempting to respond as quickly as possible in a situation in which no second of time is expendable? Do these protests prevent commerce from being conducted and potentially impacting business in the United States? Were the protesters paid by some organization to block the roads? Are any of the protesters even citizens of the United States?

Some people believe that blocking roadways is a form of terrorism. I am not sure that I would go that far; but I do believe that blocking roadways is unacceptable, inexcusable, and potentially downright dangerous. Law enforcement officers should disperse the protesters as expeditiously as possible upon arresting them; and they should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. If they are not citizens of the United States, they should be deported from the country as quickly as possible.

The problem currently is not if the blocking of important roadways will happen again; but rather a matter of when it will happen again…

Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

  1. Beside the economic disruptions and other impacts you noted, there is increased pollution from cars idling and poorer mileage for all the cars traveling slowly once the protesters are cleared. Someone needs to file a class action lawsuit against these protesters so anyone can recover the losses they encountered because of the block age, and the EPA air local air district need to sue them for the extra pollution they caused.

  2. This afternoon, there are news reports that pro-Gaza protesters blocked the access highway to Seattle airport.

    We, the audience, generally are interested in flying and airports but, still, blocking access is wrong.

    These people should be personally liable for damages (ha, try to collect from them!) and they should be put in prison. If they want to protest, they should protest in front of the Israeli embassy.

    They could try to convey a message that Israel is too heavy handed in their response and that might sway some people. Their current method only creates hate against them.

  3. It’s wrong to impede free travel of citizens in any country. The police were wrong to do so during Covid and were committing a crime against humanity. However, in this case given the genocide being done to Palestinians (20% of Palestinians are White Christians), we should excuse them.

    These protests are a waste because they are not targeted. They should be targeted at supporters of Zionism and globalism. Someone mentioned the Israeli embassy but the U.S. government which is controlled by Israel First globalists fund and supply Israel. Protesting the Israeli embassy does nothing. They’d do better protesting big U.S. corporations that are controlled by Israel First people.

    1. If that is true then the other 80% are the Israelis that live in Israel since “Palestine” is really Israel.

    2. This is a joke right??? The protestors should all be thrown in jail – There are NO Palestinians, they do not exist as a people – Do me a favor – Tell me 1 thing that a historical PALESTINIAN figure has EVER done? Forget that, just name 1 historical Palestinian figure… You can not… because they do not exist

      Now lets talk stats .. the Terrorist health ministry (Hamas Ministry of Health) has just admitted they conflated the numbers by approximately 30 % – So then looking at the numbers the civilian to military casualty rate is 1.5:1 – This is the lowest rate in Modern Warfare and shows how the IDF values civilian life UNLIKE the terrorist entity known as Hamas

      Also – The fact that some of the returned hostages have stated that civilians “SOLD THEM” to Hamas – so… not so innocent civilians are they?

  4. Blocking traffic is never OK. In this case it’s all the more disgusting since the motivation is pure anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.

    1. It’s antisemitism to oppose genocide? It’s antisemitism to support free speech. It’s anti semitism to oppose communism. It’s antisemitism to notice when 3% of the population controls all industries. It’s antisemitism to support Jesus or opposing inbreeding.

      1. You seem to be on a mission to spread all sorts of anti-semitic tropes. You need to check yourself in with the ADL and get yourself some education on these matters and put aside your racial and religious animosities. It’s the gullible and insecure clowns who buy the anti-Semitic “white Christian nationalist” nonsense talking points, and they are no real allies of Palestinians nowadays. They are Trump-supporting chaos and destruction fans.

      2. It is not antisemitism to notice how successful 3% of the population have been. It is antisemitic to oppose “inbreeding”.

      3. Also the implication behind your comment “it’s antisemitism to oppose genocide” is antisemitic.

  5. “[T]he people who identify as Palestinians” = Palestinians

    just as much as the

    “the people who identity as Israelis” = Israelis.

    National groups can identify as such, with or without a nation-state. Just like the Kurdish are Kurdish with or without a sovereign nation-state of their own. Just like Tibetans are Tibetans even without a sovereign nation-state of their own. Same for Palestinians.

    About the anti-semitic “white Christian nationalist” “supporters” of Palestinians (of which there is an example above with David Arnett), they are a minority nowadays compared to the “white Christian nationalists” groups in general which hate Muslims and “brown and black people” even more than they hate the existence of a right-wing Jewish population with a state in Israel.

    1. You cannot equate the term “Palestinian” with “Israeli”. There is no state of Palestine any more. There is a state of Israel. As for your comment about President Trump, he is a good friend to both Jews and Israel, regardless of whether you like him or his style.

  6. “ If they are not citizens of the United States, they should be deported from the country as quickly as possible.”

    [Who should be next in line for deportation, US dual-citizens?]

    Strongly disagree with the deportation stuff above, as I believe in the rule of law and due process. The “as quickly as possible” stuff invites abuse and intimidation and makes already second-class US persons be at even greater risk of being treated even worse for the same alleged non-violent violations than US citizens just because the settled immigrants aren’t US citizens.

    About the stupid British idea of road-blocking protesters being categorized as “terrorists”, that country has lost the plot on political and legal sensibility quite some time ago with regard to democracy and now a commitment to democracy means having a tolerance for a lot of public nonsense. Noteworthy is that the calls for considering calling more road-blocking protesters “terrorists” or harsher punishments come often from the blocks of people who tend to avoid calling the January 6th insurrectionists and their supporters as “traitors” and anti-American “terrorists” and complain about how former President Trump is being subjected to law enforcement and judicial proceedings under standing law.

    1. Now that I re-read the line I wrote in the article which you highlighted, GUWonder, I was actually referring to people who are not legally citizens of the United States.

  7. A 20 minute block on the highway to ORD from downtown? Even without counterproductive road-blocking protests, that kind of stoppage is part of the typical slowdown range that I budget in for road trips from downtown to the airport and has me instead preferring to use the CTA trains to get to the airport even when porting even the proverbial kitchen sink.

    1. The Tom Cotton approach to such matters makes Putin and Kadyrov feel like they have a US ally in him too.

      The US would be better off it those violence-lovers would self-deport to Russia with their beloved Lord Trump.

        1. The dude is a kiss-up to the worst of the Arab royals who really are no friends to anyone but themselves. And just because someone has some friends or relatives who happen to be of a given religious or ethnic affiliation doesn’t mean that such a person isn’t bigoted against the same religion and/or ethic affiliation as a friend and/or relative.

          Trump has long lived on lazy-minded stereotypes of the worst sort about other people. The world will be a richer place when he’s naturally relegated to the dustbin of history and he’s closer to his KKK-loving relatives of yesteryears.

          1. If that were true then he wouldn’t have so many Jewish (especially Torah Observant ones) and Israeli supporters. He is not bigoted against Judaism.

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