Protesters block the entrance of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee during a demonstration against Israel s war on the Gaza Strip, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on November 15, 2023. AFP
Officers and demonstrators scuffled Wednesday evening after hundreds of protesters blocked entrances to the party's headquarters while multiple Democratic lawmakers attended a reception inside.
In a statement Thursday, United States Capitol Police said the group of some 200 protesters "was not peaceful. The crowd failed to obey our lawful orders to move back."
But demonstrators at a news conference described police as punching and pepper spraying those in attendance "within minutes" of arrival and said 90 protesters were injured, including one with a concussion.
Capitol Police said one man was arrested and six officers injured during the rally "ranging from minor cuts to being pepper sprayed to being punched."
Jessica Rosenberg, a rabbi with the group Jewish Voice for Peace, part of the coalition which called for the protest, said demonstrators had blocked all but one entrance "for people to enter and exit the building so that we could talk to them."
Police said they responded by "pulling people off the building, pushing them back, and clearing them from the area, so we could safely evacuate the members (of congress) and staff."
The war in Gaza has set off a wave of global demonstrations, including several in Europe over the weekend, condemning the Israeli aggression on the Palestinian territory.
Israel's relentless bombardment and growing ground offensive has so far left more than 11,500 people dead, many of them women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry.
The war has displaced nearly 1.6 million people in Gaza, forcing them to leave their homes and evacuate to the southern part of the strip.
*This story was edited by Ahram Online