US Capitol police arrested scores of demonstrators inside the building who had gathered on the National Mall urging the Biden administration to call for a “ceasefire now” amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Public access to the Capitol complex has been restricted after a sizable number of demonstrators calling for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas disrupted one of the House office buildings, media has learned from a source inside the Capitol Hill building.
“We have been advised by the police to use the tunnels and not the main entrance and exit doors,” a hill staffer told media, as the demonstrations unfolded, with members from Jewish groups holding placards that read, “Ceasefire”, “Jews say, Ceasefire now”.
The House Sergeant-at-arms sent out a memo to congressional offices that all visitors would be restricted to a single door in an attempt to control public entry into the campus. Several barriers of bike-rack fencing were erected around the Capitol building on October 17 night as a precautionary measure in anticipation of the protest.
The Capitol Police also announced they were closing down roads around the Capitol to ensure the safety of protestors outside.
“A group of protesters are demonstrating inside the Cannon Rotunda. Demonstrations are not allowed inside Congressional Buildings,” the US Capitol Police said in a post on X. “Demonstrations are not allowed inside Congressional Buildings,” the Capitol Police said after the arrests.
A group of protesters are demonstrating inside the Cannon Rotunda. Demonstrations are not allowed inside Congressional Buildings. pic.twitter.com/pZHKqSpjoL
— The U.S. Capitol Police (@CapitolPolice) October 18, 2023
“We warned the protestors to stop demonstrating and when they did not comply we began arresting them,” the Capitol Police added.
Earlier, speaking at a news conference Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the Hamas terror group was perpetrating a double war crime daily.
“Every day they perpetrate a double war crime, targeting our civilians while hiding behind their civilians, embedding themselves in the civilian population and using them as human shields. We have seen the cost of this terrible double war crime against humanity that Hamas has been perpetrating in the last 11 days” the Israeli Prime Minister said.
Israeli PM stressed that civilians are unfortunately getting harmed, whereas Israel is legitimately targeting terrorists. “Hamas is responsible and should be held accountable for all civilian casualties,” he added.
The ministry says 3,478 people have been killed since Israel began bombing the Strip on October 7, in reaction to a Hamas onslaught in which some 1,400 Israelis were massacred.
Meanwhile as the Israel-Hamas conflict enters the 13th day, the Israel Air Force attacked military targets of the terrorist organisation Hezbollah in the border area with Lebanon. Among the targets, an observation post towards the sea was attacked from where anti-tank fire was launched at Rosh Hankara on October 18. The IDF said the attacks were carried out in response to the incidents of shooting at Israel.
(with inputs from ANI)