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'Peaceful' pro-Palestinian protesters face US Capitol police outside DNC headquarters

US capitol clash with pro-Palestine demonstrators outside of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C. on 15 November 2023. (Photo by AFP)

US Capitol police officers have clashed with pro-Palestinian protesters outside the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters in Washington, DC, as demonstrators say their call for a ceasefire in Gaza was "nonviolent".

The protest was organized by three advocacy groups and held in an area near the US Capitol in Washington on Wednesday night to urge lawmakers for a ceasefire in Palestine and an end to the brutal Israeli military campaign in the Gaza Strip.

Several advocacy groups, including IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace Action, claimed on X platform (formerly known as Twitter) that they were “assaulted.”

“We were peacefully linking arms, singing, and calling for a ceasefire,” IfNotNow posted. “Then Capitol Police rushed in, threw us down the stairs, and pepper sprayed us.”

The organizers rejected allegations that demonstrators were violent.

Photos posted on social media showed protesters wearing black T-shirts stenciled with “Cease Fire Now” in white letters struggling with police officers trying to pull them away from the building’s entrance.

Jewish Voice for Peace Action said that the initial plan was to lay out 11,000 candles, representing the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli airstrikes but the police interrupted with violence and used pepper spray on some protesters and pushed the group back to about a block away from the DNC.


This is dangerous & reckless disinformation, Congressman.

We were peacefully linking arms, singing, and calling for a ceasefire.

As you can see with your own eyes in this video.

Then Capitol Police rushed in, threw us down the stairs, and pepper sprayed us.

Retract this now.

— IfNotNow🔥 (@IfNotNowOrg) November 16, 2023


IfNotNow spokesperson, Eva Borgwardt, said in a statement that the protest was “nonviolent” and a “moral act of civil disobedience to call on Democrats to support a cease-fire and an end to our government’s funding of violence against Palestinian civilians by Netanyahu’s far-right government.”

Police escorted legislators who were at the DNC offices at the time and evacuated them from the area.

In a post on X, the US Capitol police put the number of protestors at around 150, claiming that they were "illegally and violently protesting" near the party offices. 

It also said one person had been arrested over alledged "assault on an officer." 

The demonstration comes as Israel is intensifying its attacks on Gaza despite widespread international condemnation.

Israel waged the war on Gaza on October 7 after Hamas carried out the surprise Operation Al-Aqsa Storm into the occupied territories in response to the occupying regime’s intensified crimes against the Palestinian people.

According to the Gaza-based health ministry, at least 11,500 Palestinians have been killed in the strikes, most of them women and children, and more than 32,000 others have been injured.

Tel Aviv has also imposed a “complete siege” on Gaza, cutting off fuel, electricity, food, and water to the more than two million Palestinians living there.

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