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Police arrest pro-Palestinian demonstrators at the San Francisco building that houses the Israeli consulate

By OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ and HAVEN DALEY – Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Police on Monday arrested pro-Palestinian demonstrators who occupied the lobby of a San Francisco building that houses the Israeli consulate.

It was not immediately clear how many people were taken into custody, but Associated Press reporters saw police handcuffing about 50 people. The officers then loaded them into police vans and drove them away.

A group of pro-Palestinian protesters entered the building and occupied it for several hours on Monday. Protesters posted signs on the front doors of the building, calling for an end to the Israel-Hamas war.

Police officers issued several warnings, ordering demonstrators to leave before they moved in and began detaining people, the San Francisco Police Department said in a statement.

About five protesters remained inside the building until late afternoon while officers processed the inmates outside.

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Israel’s consul general in the Pacific Northwest, Marco Sermoneta, said protesters arrived around 9 a.m. at the financial district building but did not enter the consulate offices. He said his office was telling people they might need to change their appointments.

San Francisco police officers stood guard outside the building and told an AP reporter it was not open to the public.

Earlier Monday, protesters told the San Francisco Chronicle they would not leave until they were forced to. Police blocked the front doors of the building before ordering the demonstrators to leave. Protesters inside could be heard chanting.

Israel is facing growing international criticism over its offensive in Gaza, in which more than 36,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health. Its number does not differentiate between civilians and combatants. Israel blames Hamas militants for the civilian deaths, accusing it of operating from densely populated residential areas.

The October 7 Hamas attack in southern Israel triggered the war. Hamas militants have killed around 1,200 people – mostly civilians – and kidnapped around 250. Around 80 hostages in Gaza are believed to be alive, along with the bodies of another 30.

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