U.S. Capitol Police on Wednesday arrested hundreds of protesters occupying a congressional office building and calling for a cease-fire in Gaza, according to a number of reports.
Large crowds of largely pro-Palestinian protesters had gathered in the streets of Washington on Wednesday calling for a cease-fire. The demonstrations came in the wake of Hamas terrorists attacking Israel on Oct. 7, killing more than 1,000 people.
Israel responded by declaring war on Hamas, which the U.S. has designated as a terrorist organization since 1997.
Footage from inside the Cannon House Office Building shows pro-Palestinian protesters sitting on the floor and chanting, “We mourn the dead and fight like hell for the living,” as police began to make arrests.
Capitol Police told The Daily Signal on Wednesday that as of 5 p.m. it did not have a headcount of all the arrests. In an “X” post earlier on Wednesday afternoon, the Capitol Police noted that demonstrations are not allowed inside congressional office buildings.
“Close to 300” people are in custody, a spokesperson for the Capitol Police subsequently told WRC-TV, Washington’s NBC affiliate.
The police force said it began arresting protesters after they were warned to stop demonstrating.
“Arrests in the [Cannon] Rotunda and the rolling road closures are ongoing,” the police force’s “X” account tweeted around 4 p.m. “Amongst these arrests, three people have been arrested and charged with Assault on a Police Officer during processing.”
Outside, a sizable crowd gathered near the Cannon House Office Building calling for a cease-fire. Many of those in the crowd carried signs calling for the eradication of Israel. One sign that The Daily Signal observed read: “Israel is a terrorist state.”
Another read: “Zionism is fascism.”
Protesters appear to have vandalized some of the marble structures on the sidewalk with slogans such as “Free Palestine.” The Capitol Police did not immediately address requests for comment from The Daily Signal about that.
There was a massive police presence on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. As the protests occurred, The Daily Signal observed police lined up on foot and on bikes outside both the Capitol and the Supreme Court.
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