Protestors, demanding a ceasefire, and Capitol Police accuse each other of unruly behavior.
Capitol police clashed with violent protestors outside the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in Washington, D.C., with authorities restraining the activists calling for a ceasefire in Gaza late Wednesday.
Roads were closed along South Capitol Street between Canal and E Streets, SE, and Ivy Street between Canal Street and New Jersey Avenue, SE.
“Our officers are continuing to keep the illegal protesters back from the area. Again, please stay away from the area near Canal Street and Ivy Street, SE,” said the X post thread.
Even though a “large group of illegal protesters near Canal Street and Ivy Street, SE, have cleared out,” USCP officers plan to stay on scene “out of an abundance of caution.”
Police suffered injuries during the clash.
“Tonight 6 officers were treated for injuries—ranging from minor cuts to being pepper sprayed to being punched. One person has been arrested for assault on an officer. We appreciate our officers who kept these illegal & violent protesters back & protected everyone in the area,” said the final post in the thread.
Many commentators voiced their concern that only one person was arrested in replies to the post while others compared the incident to the Jan. 6 Capitol breach.
The protestors were calling for a ceasefire in Gaza after Hamas terrorists invaded Israeli villages and killed 1,400 people, wounded many more, and left countless others traumatized with the sheer brutality unleashed on the civilian population. Many Israelis, including children, are still held captive by the terror group.
According to Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), who was in the DNC building and had to be evacuated, the protestors were violent and attacked police with pepper spray.
Based on comments made by Mr. Sherman to the media, about seven members of Congress were inside the building when the attack took place. Some members like House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Whip Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) left the building before the protest broke out, claimed Mr. Sherman.
Mr. Casten compared the incident to the Jan. 6 breach as well.
“You have the Constitutional right to peaceably assemble and protest. But blocking all entries to a building with multiple members of Congress in it, protected by Capitol Police officers who have lived through January 6 is putting you and other innocent people at risk,” he said.
He questioned the protestors’ intents and reiterated U.S. citizens’ right to protest, however, within some reasonable boundaries.
“We were rescued by armed officers who did not know the protestors’ intent; they knew only that Members of Congress were inside, could not leave and that protestors would not let police through. Forcing police to guess intent is irresponsible and dangerous.”
“I am grateful for the USCP’s professionalism and that all were safely evacuated. I’m also keenly aware that it could have been much worse. Americans have a right to assemble and protest. But PLEASE do so at a safe distance and respect local police orders.”
Protestors and Projectiles
The protestors were part of four advocacy groups, one of the groups If Not Now said in an X post. The other protesters were from the Jewish Voice for Peace Action (JVP), Democratic Socialists of America, and The Democrats. They linked hands and sang slogans, “Which side are you on?”
After refusing to move away from the building, police resorted to force and fired projectiles containing irritants to disperse the crowd.
They also claimed to being hit by police bikes. “Protestors were choked and violently handled by multiple offices at once, thrown against the wall, then grabbed and picked up and thrown down the front stairs.” The post added that “dozens of people were kicked, kneed and punched in the face.”
Beth Miller, the political director of the group, said, “With every passing minute that President Biden and the Democratic Party refuse to heed the calls of their voters and demand a ceasefire, more Palestinians in Gaza are being killed by Israeli airstrikes and siege. In their homes, schools, hospitals, and mosques, and by starvation, dehydration and disease.”
Renée Paradis of the Democratic Socialists of America said, “Calling for a ceasefire is not a radical or fringe demand.”
“Tonight, police lied about the protest being violent, even as they roughed up protestors, sprayed tear gas on the crowd, and literally trampled vigil candles beneath their feet.”
Hamas has denied the accusation but Israel claims its forces have uncovered weapons and “terror infrastructure” inside the compound.