(Video edited by WTOP’s Erron Franklin)
Some 300 people were arrested during a large demonstration Wednesday on Capitol Hill calling for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war — with demonstrations moving outside the Israeli Embassy in Northwest D.C. later in the day.
A Capitol Police spokesperson confirmed the number of arrests in an email to WTOP, saying that those protesters were arrested for demonstrating in congressional buildings. Authorities will not have a final count of the arrests made “for a while,” and the 300-plus figure could change by Thursday morning.
Outside the Israeli Embassy Wednesday evening, demonstrators carried signs and chanted, “Free Gaza.” Crowds had started to gather there by 6:30 p.m.
One protestor told WTOP’s Heather Gustafson, “I think our presence right now is to try and be loud and ensure that the people in that building behind us (the Israeli Embassy) can hear us and know that we’re not going to go away.”
Earlier Wednesday afternoon, demonstrators from pro-Palestinian Jewish advocacy groups chanted, “not in our name!” in reference to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza in response to a recent attack by Hamas. The protest began as a sit-in in the Cannon Office Building at 27 Independence Ave. SE, where demonstrators gathered in the rotunda.
Shortly before 5:30 p.m., WTOP’s Capitol Hill Correspondent Mitchell Miller estimated there were at least “a few hundred” demonstrators while he reported from the scene.
Demonstrators spilled outside the Cannon Office Building onto the surrounding streets, where they chanted “free, free Palestine” and “cease-fire now.”
Police lined up detained protesters outside the Cannon Office Building, where they were shuttled to a temporary holding area in the Capitol complex. None of the protesters were in the Capitol building itself.
Some traffic was blocked off around the Capitol during the protest.
See photos from the protest below.