Capitol Police Evacuate DNC HQ After Violence at Pro-Palestinian Protest

Naveen Athrappully
By Naveen Athrappully
November 16, 2023US News
Capitol Police Evacuate DNC HQ After Violence at Pro-Palestinian Protest
Members of U.S. Capitol Police try to remove protesters from the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee during a demonstration against the war between Israel and Hamas on Capitol Hill in Washington on Nov.15, 2023. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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.

“Right now, our officers are working to keep back approximately 150 people who are illegally and violently protesting in the area of Canal Street and Ivy Street, SE,” said the Capitol Police in a recent X post. “Officers are making arrests. All Members have been evacuated from the area. Please stay away from the area.”

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.

DNC Evacuation

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.

“Was just evacuated from the #DNC after pro-terrorist, anti-#Israel protestors grew violent, pepper spraying police officers and attempting to break into the building. Thankful to the police officers who stopped them and for helping me and my colleagues get out safely,” said Mr. Sherman in an X post. “Apparently, these pro-#Hamas demonstrators want #Republicans to prevail in the next Congressional election.”

Social media videos showed protestors shoving police and attempting to get inside the building.

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.

“I was just evacuated from the @dccc office after the building was surrounded by protestors who had blocked all modes of ingress and egress,” said Rep. Sean Casten (D-Ill.). “Grateful to Capitol Police for getting all members and staff out safely. To the protestors: PLEASE don’t do something irresponsible.”

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.

NTD Photo
People take part in a march during a multi-denominational event hosted by the Democratic Socialists of America, IfNotNow Movement and Jewish Voice for Peace calling for a ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Washington on Nov. 15, 2023. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

In a recent statement released by If Not Now, “a coalition of Jewish and allied protestors nonviolently blocked one entrance to the DNC headquarters. Police violently attacked them, causing over 90 injuries, including being pepper sprayed, minor cuts, and being dragged by hair.”

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.”

In a detailed statement released by JVP, the group said, “As hundreds of anti-war protesters assembled with 11,000 candles and signs calling for a ceasefire, D.C. police, many in riot gear, rushed the candlelight vigil and attacked protesters blocking some of the entrances to the doors of the DCCC.”

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.”

The U.S. State Department has said that a ceasefire targeted at Israel, without trust that Hamas would comply, would “allow” the terrorist group to “remain.”

Last week, Israel agreed to some pauses in its military operations in the Gaza Strip to let civilians move to the south as part of its efforts to convince the Hamas terrorist group to free hostages, the White House said on Nov. 9.

In a latest update, Israeli forces are scouring Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza looking for Hamas terrorists and weapons believed to be hidden beneath the premises.

The White House said that Hamas’s use of hospitals in Gaza for military operations amounts to “a war crime.”

Hamas has denied the accusation but Israel claims its forces have uncovered weapons and “terror infrastructure” inside the compound.

From The Epoch Times

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