1 Arrested, 6 Officers Hurt After 'Violent' Pro-Palestine Rally Near DNC HQ

By Jason Hall

November 16, 2023

Jewish Peace Activists Rally Near Capitol Hill
Photo: Getty Images

One person was arrested and six U.S. Capitol Police officers suffered minor injuries after a pro-Palestine rally outside the Democratic National Committee headquarters turned violent Wednesday (November 15) night, a U.S. Capitol Police spokesperson confirmed to NBC Washington Thursday (November 16) morning.

Several dozen protesters were reported to have gotten into a shoving match with officers during the rally, which took place just south of the U.S. Capitol, according to authorities. Several Democratic politicians, including House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, were inside the DNC headquarters for a campaign reception when the incident took place.

Protesters, many of whom were seen wearing black shirts with the phrase "Cease Fire Now," said they intended to block entrances and exits in order to force Democratic politicians to encounter their candlelight vigil and calls for a cease fire in Gaza amid the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. The demonstrators blamed responding police for the rally turning violent, claiming they were rushed without warning.

“It's unacceptable. Peaceful anti-war protesters laid out candles to represent all those lives lost so tragically, and the police here escalated violently against peaceful protesters,” said Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg, who represents 'Rabbis for Ceasefire,' who recently made headlines for interrupting President Joe Biden's fundraiser in Minneapolis to protest the war in Gaza.

Capitol Police confirmed that pepper spray was used and a group of protesters were pushed back about a block away from the DNC headquarters. Rep. Sean Casten (D-Ill.) said he was evacuated from the building during the incident and urged the demonstrators to avoid doing anything "irresponsible."

"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," Casten wrote on his X account. "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."

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