A source within the Emergency Services in Fairfield, California has revealed that there was a delay in responding to a senior citizen’s call for help due to a pro-Hamas rally that took over the city’s main route. The rally, organized by Solano Community Network, was protected by police, who told emergency dispatch workers that they would need to take a longer, alternative route.
The demonstration, which took place on December 10, was well underway when a 911 call was received from the Greenfield Care Center due to an elderly man suffering from shortness of breath. The first responders were then notified by Fairfield PD dispatch that they would “have to find a different route” due to the blockade, adding several minutes to their response time.
According to an inquiry made by The Publica, the senior was taken to the hospital and is in recovery.
Speaking to The Publica, the source, who works as a first responder in the city, condemned the protestors for blocking a crucial route used by emergency services.
“[The Police] did their assigned job of keeping the protestors safe. But they did not need to march down the middle of the street and block traffic on a Sunday when the mall was busy directly before Christmas,” he said.
The Publica reached out to Jennifer Brantley, the public information officer for the Fairfield Police Department. According to her report, the department anticipated a peaceful protest and arranged accommodations accordingly. While the protest began at around noon with a small group of calm civilians, it quickly swelled into a crowd of over 150 people.
Brantley explains that the demonstration became unruly as it grew in size.
“Some members of that larger group began darting into the street, disrupting traffic, and nearly causing vehicle collisions,” she said.
Brantley told The Publica that the police arrived at the scene after receiving calls from concerned citizens about the protestors.
As the march headed towards Gateway Boulevard, a male demonstrator got into a verbal altercation with a community member and appeared to brandish a firearm. Cameras followed the man as he left and entered a vehicle. Police then gave dispersal orders to the crowd, fragmenting the group into smaller factions, some of which cleared.
But after police attempted to stop the man suspected of brandishing a weapon, a group of protestors converged on them and interfered with the search. Additional officers arrived to assist and gave dispersal orders which the smaller group ignored. The man and protestors who interfered with the stop were arrested on various charges.
This is not the first time that pro-Hamas protestors have interfered with crucial transportation hubs and put emergency response times at risk.
On December 13, a Palestine protest brought Interstate 94 in Downtown Minneapolis to a halt.
In a statement posted on Facebook, the Minneapolis state patrol stated that they supported everyone’s ability to exercise First Amendment rights, but that the freeway was not the place to conduct a demonstration.
“The closure of an interstate freeway for the purposes of a demonstration is unacceptable. Freeways are used by everyone and are an artery for emergency vehicles. It is illegal to walk on the freeway and blocking traffic is dangerous for everyone involved or impacted,” the statement read.
Similarly, during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ conference in San Fransisco, President Biden faced a crowd of 200 individuals demanding an immediate cease-fire in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. As a result, the city’s traffic was severely affected, causing hours of delays.
According to KCRA3, 80 protesters were arrested on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and 29 vehicles were towed after demonstrators blocked all lanes on the upper deck, with some drivers tossing their keys into the bay.
The San Francisco’s Emergency Operations Center revealed that one person was booked into county jail during the protest, but that others were cited and released.