U.S. Capitol Police evacuated the area around the Democratic National Committee (DCCC) headquarters in Washington, D.C., after colliding with pro-Palestinian protestors Wednesday night.
Police reported that at least 150 protestors were “illegally and violently protesting.”
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. Officers are making arrests. All Members have been evacuated from the area. Please stay away from the area. pic.twitter.com/qHcpyYexjm
— The U.S. Capitol Police (@CapitolPolice) November 16, 2023
As usual with rallies organized by the left, protestors blamed police for the chaos that erupted.
According to demonstration organizers, at least 100 protestors suffered injuries after being pepper-sprayed and pushed by police.
Demonstration organizer Dani Noble disputed the police account, stating that they were peacefully gathered at the entrance to engage lawmakers when police started shoving and pushing protestors away from the entrance.
Police and lawmakers, however, painted a different picture.
The collision with protestors resulted in six officers being injured and one person arrested for allegedly punching a female officer. Police also had to evacuate lawmakers from the DCCC.
U.S. Capitol Police released a statement saying that protestors moved dumpsters in front of the exits and pepper sprayed police officers.
“We have handled hundreds of peaceful protests, but last night’s group was not peaceful,” the statement said.
Two days prior, protestors gathered on the National Mall for what is believed to have been the largest pro-Israel rally in the U.S. Congressional leaders from both parties, including Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer and GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson were in attendance and stood united for Israel.
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) was among the members evacuated to the Capitol. He reported that police rushed into the reception and directed lawmakers to the basement, collaborating police statements. Sherman condemned protesters for “their willingness to attack police.”
“The one point I want to make is, yesterday, there were 200,000 pro-Israel demonstrators, with a permit, entirely peaceful,” Sherman said. “And, here, you have a demonstration, less than 1000th as large, that’s also getting publicity and it’s getting publicity because their willingness to attack police – as they did with pepper spray – is a force multiplier.”
Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL) tweeted that he was one of the lawmakers who had been evacuated and shared how “grateful” he was to police.
I was just evacuated from the @dccc office after the building was surrounded by protestors who had blocked all modes of ingress and egress. Grateful to Capitol Police for getting all members and staff out safely. To the protestors: PLEASE don’t do something irresponsible /1
— Sean Casten (@SeanCasten) November 16, 2023
The October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas has resulted in thousands of protests around the country, causing police to be extra cautious.