U.S. Capitol Police detained hundreds on Wednesday following demonstrations by individuals expressing support for Hamas at the U.S. Capitol. Spencer Brown, Townhall Managing Editor, indicated that three individuals faced charges related to assaulting officers, with further charges pending.
Security measures at the Capitol had been heightened in anticipation of potential disruptions, especially after the renewed conflicts between Hamas and Israel that began on October 7.
In preparation for an event Hamas labeled as the “Day of Jihad” on October 13, protective fencing was placed around the Capitol the preceding Thursday. Moreover, House members and their staff were warned of a heightened security stance due to expected demonstrations and the potential for disturbances the following Wednesday.
A group identifying as “Jewish Voices for Peace” entered the Cannon House Office Building and filled its rotunda, advocating for a ceasefire by chanting “CEASEFIRE.”
Drawing inspiration from 1960s-style sit-ins, the group distinguished their act from a mere protest, insisting on remaining until Congress advocated for a Gaza ceasefire. This group primarily focuses on initiatives that promote Palestinian liberation.
Officers acted when the demonstrators declined to leave, leading to confrontations.
There were also reports of activists defacing structures outside the Capitol while championing a “free Palestine.” Some political figures, including Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), appeared to side with or openly support the demonstrators.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) voiced their support via tweets. On the other hand, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) called for preserving all relevant video evidence and demanded an inquiry. Interestingly, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) did not issue any statements regarding the intrusion into the office building.
Due to the tense situation, by 3 PM Eastern on Wednesday, only House members and staff were allowed to use pedestrian entrances to House office structures.
Observers are keenly awaiting to see if the legal consequences faced by those arrested during this event will be comparable to those detained in relation to the events of January 6.