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Republican Suggests Protesters Would Be Thrown Off Bridge in Residence State

Amid protests on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco over the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas suggested on Monday that if protesters were in his home state they would have been tossed off the bridge by others.

On October 7, Hamas led the deadliest Palestinian attack on Israel in history. Israel subsequently launched its heaviest airstrikes against Gaza. As of Monday, at least 1,200 people have been killed in Israel, the Associated Press reported, citing the Israeli government. More than 33,700 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, AP said.

Since then, pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian protests have been seen around the country as tensions escalate, with many calling for a lasting ceasefire amid the rising death toll, particularly among civilians.

Tom Cotton
U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) speaks with members of the media on March 22, 2024, in Washington, D.C. Amid several protests in San Francisco over the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, Cotton suggested on Monday that if…

Nathan Howard/Getty Images

On Monday morning, activists protesting the war and calling for a ceasefire shut down Highway 101 on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, halting the commute into the city and resulting in multiple arrests.

Dozens of protesters had stopped their vehicles and blocked all southbound lanes of the span, demanding the U.S. stop arming and funding Israel in the war in Gaza as part of an economic blockade, organizers say according to local ABC News.

In an interview with Fox News, Cotton discussed the protests, stating he feels for those people who are trying to get to work and is concerned about the diversion of police resources, but adds that if the protests were to happen in his home state, the protesters would be “wet criminals” due to other people tossing them overboard.

“If something like this happened in Arkansas on a bridge there, let’s just say that there would be a lot of wet criminals that would have been tossed overboard, not by law enforcement, but by the people whose road they are blocking,” Cotton said.

Cotton continues to stress that there needs to be an end to the protesters as he encourages others to “take matters into their own hands.”

“I think that’s the way we would handle it in Arkansas and I would encourage most people anywhere that get stuck behind criminals like this who are trying to block traffic to take matters into their own hands…it’s time to put an end to this nonsense,” Cotton added.

Newsweek has reached out to Cotton and the California Highway Patrol via email for comment.

However, despite Cotton’s comments, local law enforcement has been working to clear the protesters as several protests have erupted.

California Highway Patrol has advised others to use alternate routes as delays are expected and has requested assistance from the San Francisco Fire Department.

Another simultaneous protest on the other side of the Bay in Oakland has also shut down traffic on the northbound and southbound lanes of I-880.

This is not the first protest over the Israel-Hamas war that has blocked traffic.

Back in November, a large group of protesters shut down the westbound Bay Bridge as President Joe Biden and other world leaders visited the Bay Area for the APEC Summit.