A pro-Palestinian demonstration turned violent as police and protesters clashed outside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, the Washington Examiner reported. The people inside the building, including several members of Congress, were evacuated.
U.S. Capitol police said at least 150 people showed "illegally and violently protesting" in an effort to urge the Democratic Party to support a cease-fire in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. The demonstration was pulled together by a coalition of organizations, including Jewish Voice for Peace Action and If Not Now.
These groups have shown up to protest elsewhere around the nation's capital, but tensions continue to ratchet up as both sides of the issue become increasingly entrenched in their viewpoint. Wednesday's riot resulted in one protester's arrest for assaulting a Capitol Police officer, while six officers sustained minor injuries, the Associated Press reported.
The protesters attempted to block all of the exits in the building to force lawmakers to walk past their candlelight vigil and demonstration. Some of the protesters wore black shirts with the slogan "Cease Fire Now" emblazoned on them.
On the surface, it was organized as a call for peace after Israel's counteroffensive in response to a terrorist attack perpetrated by Hamas last month. In reality, what they brought was trouble as the protesters and police engaged in a violent confrontation.
Predictably, the demonstrators blamed police for the scuffle, claiming that police turned on them without warning. "It is shameful the way that nonviolent protesters and members of our community were met with violence tonight," protester Dani Noble claimed.
"It is absolutely shameful," Noble, who came from Philadelphia to protest, reiterated. Nobel said police were allegedly "pulling on folks that are disabled or have chronic illnesses, pulling people to the ground," the protesters claimed.
However, video clips posted to social media showed that the crowd became unruly before police rushed in. Moreover, police had reason to be cautious as several candidates and representatives were inside the building, including House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.
Rep Brad. Sherman (D-CA) and some lawmakers were ushered out of the building by police while others sheltered in place in the basement. "Was just evacuated from the #DNC after pro-terrorist, anti-#Israel protestors grew violent, pepper spraying police officers and attempting to break into the building," Sherman posted to X, formerly Twitter, Wednesday.
"Thankful to the police officers who stopped them and for helping me and my colleagues get out safely," Sherman continued. "Apparently, these pro-#Hamas demonstrators want #Republicans to prevail in the next Congressional election," the California Democrat said in a follow-up post.
This protest is a symptom of a larger problem as the Democratic Party is beginning to splinter over the issue of support for Israel and its actions against Hamas. President Joe Biden is in quite a conundrum as many in his party call for a cease-fire.
While he does not support that position, Biden has said that both sides should take a break from fighting to allow for hostages to be freed and humanitarian aid to be delivered. This inability to commit to either radical position -- annihilate Gaza or neuter Israel -- has increasingly become a problem for the president.
Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg, one of the participants in Wednesday's rally, said Biden and the Democrats are "not listening to the people they claim to represent," and thus "actions like this are only going to increase," she predicted. "We are not slowing down. The call for a ceasefire is going to keep growing. And our representatives need to take action yesterday," Rosenberg said.
This may be the start of another season of leftist uprisings, and it's a good thing they were stopped by police this time. This issue is divisive, and there will be no shortage of demonstrations if this conflict continues between Israel and Hamas, and there's no telling what that will mean for American cities.