On Wednesday night, police and protesters clashed in front of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee during a demonstration calling for a truce to the bloody war between Israel and Hamas. This was the latest manifestation of the escalating tensions surrounding the conflict.
Chanting outside interrupted a reception for House Minority leader Hakeem Jeffreys and other Democratic candidates. Protesters claimed they blocked entrances and exits in order to force politicians to attend their candlelight vigil and to hear their call for an end to fighting. Many of them wore black T-shirts that said “Cease fire now.”
The situation quickly degenerated. U.S. Capitol Police reported that 150 people “violently and illegally” protested in Washington’s Capitol Hill. Protesters, however, blamed the police for violence and said officers had rushed them unannounced.
Dani Noble from Philadelphia, who attended the protest in Philadelphia, said: “It’s shameful that members of our community and nonviolent demonstrators were met tonight with violence.” It is absolutely disgusting.
Noble claimed that police wearing riot gear began “pulling people down, including those with chronic illness or disabilities.”
According to Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), the police stormed the reception area and told the lawmakers to go to the basement. Later, some were evacuated by police vehicles.
Capitol Police reported that six officers received minor injuries, and one protester had been arrested for assaulting a police officer. Social media videos showed the shoving, scuffles, and police moving in.
Metropolitan Police Department officers responded to the disturbance. The alert told staffers that no one was allowed to enter or leave any House office building. However, authorities reopened these entrances later.
Sherman accused protesters of trying to break into the Democratic headquarters in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter. However, protesters denied that was their intention.
The protest was organized in Washington by a coalition that included If Not Now, Jewish Voice for Peace Action, and other groups.
The clashes on Wednesday were just the latest in a series of tensions roiling over the war between Israel & Hamas.
A large number of House Democrats voted last week with nearly all Republicans to censure Rashida Tlaib – the only Palestinian American member of Congress – for her criticisms of Israel’s treatment towards Palestinians. Tlaib was heavily criticized for her failure to condemn Hamas immediately after the attack, despite having family living in the West Bank. Since then, she has condemned the militant group and called for a truce.
Joe Biden, the president of the Democratic Party, has been under increasing pressure for his support of Israel’s military operations. He has refused to call for a truce, saying that there should instead be pauses between the combatants in order to allow humanitarian aid and possible hostage rescues.
Among those present Wednesday was Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg who had interrupted Biden at a recent Minneapolis fundraiser.
She added that Democrats “do not listen to the people they claim to be representing,” and “actions such as this will only increase.”
She said, “We will not slow down.” “The demand for a truce will continue to grow.” Our representatives must act immediately.
@cbsnews Police and protesters clashed outside Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington on Wednesday night during a demonstration for a cease-fire in the war between Israel and Hamas. Several members of Congress were evacuated from the building as the protest erupted. U.S. Capitol Police said about 150 people were “illegally and violently protesting” and six officers were treated for minor injuries and one protester was arrested for assaulting an officer. #israel #gaza #washington ♬ original sound – cbsnews