An anti-war protest at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington D.C. on November 15 descended into chaos and violence when protesters attempted to block the entrances and exits of the building. Police arrested one protester on charges of assault. Several officers suffered minor injuries.
Protest organizers were calling on Democratic members of Congress to force a ceasefire in Gaza. Israel has pounded the diminutive strip of land since Palestinian terrorists aligned with Hamas launched an attack on October 7. Thousands of Palestinians have died since the war began.
Most Democrats had left the building before the protest began, but around ten members were conferencing inside when the violence started. Capitol Police sealed the doors to the building to prevent the protesters from gaining access. An estimated 200 individuals joined the protest. Organizers claim the protest was peaceful, while police describe it as both illegal and violent.
According to police, protesters moved dumpsters to block accessways and climbed the steps of the building. Police say that an order to back away was ignored by protesters, leading to a rapid escalation of violence. Video from the protest shows police physically removing protesters from the steps and forcing the crowd away from the building as legislators evacuated.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), House Minority Whip Katherine Clark (D-MA), and Rep. Pete Aguilar were among the Democrats evacuated by police. California Rep. Brad Sherman was also in attendance and had harsh words for protesters following the evacuation.
Sherman said that a pro-Israel rally, which saw more than 200,000 attendees, was peaceful, while the much smaller anti-war protest turned violent. Sherman said the protesters’ willingness to attack police was the cause of the violence.
Organizers with Jewish Voice for Peace Action, IfNotNow, and the Democratic Socialists of America claim that police initiated the violence against peaceful protesters by using pepper spray. Spokespersons for the groups refute the claim that officers were pepper sprayed or that the protesters were blocking access to the building despite video to the contrary.
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
Organizers say around 90 protesters experienced injuries in the clash, including one person suffering from a concussion. Police arrested Ruben Arthur Comacho, 24, after he body-slammed a female officer and punched her in the face. Six officers suffered cuts and were treated for pepper spray and injuries from punches by protesters.
Anti-Israeli protests are happening around the world. Numerous college campuses have held anti-Israeli protests in recent weeks in the U.S., though few have involved violence. Recent polling by Harvard indicates widespread support for terrorism against Israel among college students who are too young to remember 9/11. A recently re-published letter authored by Osama Bin Laden in 2002 explaining his terrorist activity against the U.S. has met a receptive audience in American colleges.