A pro-Palestine protest at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C. ended after police evacuated the area.
Participants demanding a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel gathered at the building on the evening of Nov. 15. United States Capitol Police estimated at least 150 people were “violently protesting” around 8:30 p.m. and advised the public to stay away.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries and other Democrats were attending a campaign event at the DNC headquarters when the protest began. The event’s attendees were forced to walk through a candlelight vigil staged by the activists, who blocked entrances and exits to the building.
“The large group of illegal protesters near Canal Street and Ivy Street, SE, have cleared out, but USCP officers will stay on scene out of an abundance of caution,” wrote Capitol Police in a statement on X around 10:11 p.m.
Video from the incident shows police and protestors – many wearing “Cease Fire Now” t-shirts – physically clashing on the steps of the DNC.
Insurrection – Pro-Palestinian protestors storm the DNC Headquarters.
Israel’s peaceful protest did not look like this! Not a single incident.
It’s very clear which side is the problem.pic.twitter.com/G54OaxHo5z
— FFT1776™ Fighting For the Truth (@FFT1776) November 16, 2023
“We are outside the DNC… Because this party claims to be on the side of life and peace and equality and we’re saying we want them to live up to their values and oppose this horrific war and call for a cease-fire now,” said one protestor in a clip. “And we’re being responded to by the police shoving anti-war activists down the stairs, shoving peaceful protestors back with their bikes.”
Congressman Brad Sherman of California published a post on X around 8:55 p.m. saying he had been evacuated from the building because “pro-terrorist, anti-[Israel] protestors grew violent, pepper spraying police officers and attempting to break into the building.”
“Apparently, these pro-[Hamas] demonstrators want [Republicans] to prevail in the next Congressional election,” he wrote.
In total, six police officers were injured after being pepper sprayed and punched while responding to the protest.
“We have handled hundreds of peaceful protests, but last night’s group was not peaceful,” Capitol Police said in a press release on Nov. 16. “The crowd failed to obey our lawful orders to move back from the DNC, where Members of Congress were in the building.”
“When the group moved dumpsters in front of the exits, pepper sprayed our officers and attempted to pick up the bike rack, our teams quickly introduced consequences – pulling people off the building, pushing them back, and clearing them from the area, so we could safely evacuate the Members and staff,” the agency continued. “Our team was quick, decisive, courageous and in control. When demonstrations cross the line into illegal activity it is our responsibility to maintain order and ensure people’s safety.”
Capitol Police reported just one arrest. Arthur Camacho, a 24-year-old from Woodbridge, New York, was arrested for assault on a police officer. Camacho reportedly slammed an officer into a garage door and “punched a female officer in the face.”