Pro-Palestinian protesters enter Brooklyn Museum, unfurl banner as police make arrests

NEW YORK (AP) — Hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters marched to the Brooklyn Museum Friday afternoon, set up tents in the lobby and unfurled a “Free Palestine” banner from the building's roof before police moved in to make arrests.

New York City police officers tackled and punched some protesters during scuffles that broke out in the crowd outside the museum while some demonstrators hurled plastic bottles at officers and shouted insults. Other protesters held banners, waved Palestinian flags and chanted boisterously on the steps of the grand, Beaux Arts museum, which is the city’s second largest.

The rally started Friday afternoon across the street from the Barclays Center, home of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets. Marchers banging drums and chanting then made their way to the museum about a mile away.

Organizers, including the group Within Our Lifetime, called on supporters to “flood” and “de-occupy” the museum, saying they wanted to take over the building until officials “ disclose and divest ” from any investments linked to Israel's actions in Gaza.

Videos posted on social media showed guards at the museum trying to secure its doors against the surging crowd, and demonstrators finding other ways inside.

Spokespersons for the museum didn’t respond to emails and phone messages seeking comment late Friday, but an NYPD spokesperson confirmed protesters had been taken into custody. The department didn't immediately have an estimate for how many have been arrested or what charges they might face.

New York City has seen hundreds of street demonstrations since the conflict between Israel and Hamas began in October.

The Brooklyn Museum sits at the edge of Crown Heights, which is home to one of the city's largest communities of Orthodox Jews.