Protests at US Capitol for ceasefire in Gaza leads to dozens arrested

Dozens of people were arrested on Tuesday for protesting in the US Capitol rotunda in Washington, DC, in favor of ending military aid to Israel and for a ceasefire in the country’s war with Hamas, US Capitol police said.

Reports by Axios and Maariv estimate that the number of arrests made by Capitol Police was around 60 for holding what the latter source stated was an “illegal demonstration.”

Protesters waved signs saying “Stop funding violence,” “Divest from militarism – invest in life,” and “Ceasefire now,” all while shouting “No more money for Israel’s crimes.” They also placed children’s shoes to protest the death of children in the Israeli bombings of the Gaza Strip.

The protest was led by prominent anti-Zionist activist Linda Sarsour, a BDS figurehead who was also among those who were arrested by police. Last month, she laughed at posters of the hostages being held by Hamas, according to Maariv.

Police knew of the protest

Capitol Police said that the participants in the demonstration went through a security check at the entrance to the building, but when the protest began, they acted immediately to arrest them. “It is against the law to demonstrate inside the congressional buildings; that’s why we brought more police officers to be ready for the moment when the group broke the law,” they said. “About sixty people were immediately arrested as soon as they broke the law.”

Smoke rises in the Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, as seen from southern Israel, December 19, 2023. (credit: CLODAGH KILCOYNE/REUTERS)

The report also stated that more than 80 leaders of organizations were among the protesters, all united in demanding US pressure on Israel for a ceasefire. 

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