Hundreds of protesters occupied part of a Capitol building in Washington on Wednesday afternoon, to ask legislators and the government to press for a ceasefire in Gaza, bombed by Israel in retaliation after the deadly Hamas attack on September 7. October.
Wearing black T-shirts displaying the words "Jews say ceasefire now" and "Not in our name," the activists sat clapping and singing in the rotunda of the Cannon Building, one of the Congressional buildings, with large banners proclaiming " Ceasefire" and "Let Gaza live."
Capitol Police arrested about 300 protesters, authorities confirmed Thursday. “Protests are not allowed inside Congressional buildings,” that force wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
"We warned the protesters that they should stop demonstrating and when they did not comply, we began to arrest them," he added.
Police reportedly lined up the detained protesters in front of the Cannon Office Building, from where they were taken to a temporary holding area in the Capitol complex. None of the protesters were seen inside other Capitol buildings.
Several patrol cars blocked some traffic around the Congress headquarters, but the streets reopened at 5:20 p.m.
Jews for Peace
The mobilization was called by the Jewish Voice for Peace movement. Before the protest, hundreds of people gathered on the National Mall, near the Capitol, and then went to the Cannon Building and urged Joe Biden's administration to advocate for a ceasefire.
“Biden is really the only one who has the power to put pressure on Israel right now, and he should use that power to save innocent lives,” said Hannah Lawrence, 32, from Vermont.
«If I could send a message to the president, I would say: 'open your eyes, look at what is happening in Gaza. You must stand up and put an end to the genocide,'” said Rabbi Linda Holtzman, 71, from Philadelphia.
After marching to the Capitol, demonstrators moved to protest in front of the Israeli embassy in northwest DC later that same day. As night fell, activists held signs and chanted: “Free Gaza.” The crowd began gathering there starting at 6:30 p.m.