Pro-Palestinian protesters occupy parts of Brooklyn Museum

The Brooklyn Museum is located in New York in the United States [LEONARDO MUNOZ/AFP/Getty]

Pro-Palestinian protesters took over parts of the Brooklyn Museum on Friday, hanging a banner above the main entrance, occupying much of the lobby and scuffling with police, witnesses said.

Some arrests were made but a New York Police Department spokesperson said it would be hours before officials had an accurate count. The art museum in the New York City borough of Brooklyn said it closed an hour early due to the disruption.

One of the arrests was of a man who spray-painted an outdoor sculpture, Reuters witnessed. Skirmishes between police and protesters took place inside and outside the building.

“There was damage to existing and newly installed artwork on our plaza,” a museum spokesperson said in an email. “Protesters entered the building, and our public safety staff were physically and verbally harassed.

“Out of a concern for the building, our collections, and our staff, the decision was made to close the building an hour early,” and the public was asked to vacate peacefully, the statement said.

Hundreds of demonstrators were marching through Brooklyn when some of them rushed the entrance, according to the Reuters witness. Security guards prevented many from entering but some managed to get inside.

A banner was hung from atop the neoclassical facade proclaiming: “Free Palestine, Divest From Genocide.”

A pro-Palestinian organisation named Within Our Lifetime urged demonstrators to “flood Brooklyn Museum for Gaza”.

It said activists occupied the museum to compel it to disclose any Israel-related investments and to divest any such funding.

Demonstrations against Israel’s war on Gaza have continued in the United States, largely on university campuses.

The military offensive has so far killed at least 36,284 people, according to the Gaza health ministry.

The United Nations says over a million people face “catastrophic” levels of hunger as famine takes hold in parts of the enclave.

A Hamas-led 7 October attack on southern Israel resulted in the deaths of 1,189 people, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

The attack also saw 252 hostages taken, 121 of whom remain in Gaza, including 37 the Israeli army says are dead.

(Reuters, AFP)

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