Police arrest pro-Palestinian demonstrators inside San Francisco building housing Israeli Consulate

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Police on Monday arrested dozens of pro-Palestinian demonstrators for trespassing after they occupied the lobby of a San Francisco building that houses the Israeli Consulate.

Police zip-tied the hands of protesters, put them in police vans, and drove them away.

Officers arrested 69 people who refused to vacate the building, cited them, and released them from San Francisco County Jail, the San Francisco Police Department said in a statement. Another demonstrator was cited and released at the scene for the same charge, it said.

The demonstrators entered the building and occupied the lobby for several hours. The protesters posted signs on the front doors calling for an end to the Israel-Hamas war.

Police officers repeatedly ordered the demonstrators to leave before they moved in and started detaining people, the police department said.

Consul General of Israel to the Pacific Northwest Marco Sermoneta said the protesters arrived around 9 a.m. at the Financial District’s high-rise but didn’t enter the consulate’s offices. He said his office was telling people that they might need to change their appointments.

San Francisco police officers were standing guard outside the building and told an AP journalist that it was not open to the public.

Earlier Monday, protesters had told the San Francisco Chronicle that they would not leave until they were forced to do so. Protesters inside could be heard chanting.

Israel faces growing international criticism over its offensive in Gaza, in which more than 36,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. Its count doesn’t differentiate between civilians and combatants. Israel blames Hamas militants for civilian deaths, accusing it of operating from dense residential areas.

Hamas' Oct. 7 attack in southern Israel triggered the war. Hamas militants killed around 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250. About 80 hostages in Gaza are believed to be alive, along with the bodies of 30 more.