Pro-Palestine advocates confronted while hanging banners on Peninsula overpass

While the region celebrated Cinco de Mayo just days ago, a profanity-laced tirade was recorded as it took place on the same day, thus becoming the latest instance of disunity in the community.

"I was incredibly surprised," said a man who was targeted in the confrontation. He asked that his identity be concealed.

He said he and another Pro-Palestine advocate at around 5 p.m. were hanging two banners on a pedestrian overpass above Highway 101, near Pierce Road and Alpine Avenue in Menlo Park. The unidentified man walked up and demanded they remove their banners, or else.

"I immediately feared for my life because he was saying it so loud. Like kind of shouting it. I felt like what if he attacks us if we don’t take this down?," said the activist.

The pair agreed to remove their signs and leave, but they said the suspect became more agitated and aggressive. He allegedly through their personal items over the fence and onto the roadway’s shoulder below.

Demonstrators say they’ve hung banners on overpasses around the peninsula before. And they were on this particular overpass a month ago, without incident.

"It is frightening to see so many incidents of violence endangering members of my community and other human rights advocates continuing," said Zahra Billoo, executive director of CAIR San Francisco Bay Area.

She said there have been six similar incidents around the Bay over the past six months. This includes a knife-wielding man shredding a Pro-Palestine banner on an overpass above I-880 in December 2023.

"We are facing a 30-year-high in anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian hate, and it’s not stopping," said Billoo.

Jews have also been targeted. A nine-foot Menorah was desecrated at Oakland’s Lake Merrit, also in December.

"There were pieces everywhere. It seems it was burnt up. Chopped," Rabbi Dani Cohen said at the time.

The Redwood City CHP says they’re investigating this latest incident, but no arrests have been made. This, as the country and culture continue struggling with violent reactions to peaceful expressions of free speech.

"This issue is important to me and us as Americans that we need to continue," said the advocate from the May 5 incident.

Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the station's South Bay bureau. Follow him on the X platform (formerly Twitter), @JesseKTVU2 and on Instagram, @jessegontv


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