The Daily Elephant

Capitol Police Evacuate Lawmakers After Protesters Block DNC Headquarters

Approximately 150 demonstrators advocating for a halt to hostilities in the Gaza Strip obstructed the entrance to the Democratic National Committee headquarters on Wednesday night. This led Capitol Police to assist in evacuating lawmakers from the premises, subsequently resulting in the closure of access to House office buildings. Officers from Capitol Police physically removed protesters who declined to leave, as reported by CQ Roll Call.

A video shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, by Jewish Voice for Peace Action depicts Capitol Police bicycle officers guiding protesters towards the sidewalk, directing them away from the building. The organization mentioned that they, along with IfNotNow and Democratic Socialists of America, were present to arrange thousands of candles symbolizing Palestinians who lost their lives in the Israel-Hamas conflict due to Israeli airstrikes.

Sean Casten, a Democrat from Illinois who was evacuated from the Democratic National Committee (DNC), asserted that the protesters possess a constitutional right to express their views. 

However, he expressed concern about their actions, emphasizing that blocking all entrances to a building housing multiple members of Congress, guarded by Capitol Police officers who experienced the events of January 6, poses a risk to both individuals like himself and other innocent people.

Six Capitol Police officers sustained injuries, including four from exposure to pepper spray, one from a punch to the face, and another with a knee injury, as reported by a senior Capitol Police official. The official stated that the officers are presently in good condition. Additionally, one of the protesters was arrested on charges of assaulting a police officer, according to the same official.

Initiating their march from Third Street and Maryland Avenue Southwest, the group accelerated its pace as it neared the Democratic National Committee (DNC). According to a senior Capitol Police official, protesters began sprinting toward the building, which housed approximately 10 to 15 lawmakers. Prompt action was taken, and the lawmakers were safely escorted from the premises.

At 8:38 p.m., the Capitol Police announced their efforts to restrain protesters engaged in unlawful and aggressive demonstrations in the vicinity of Canal Street and Ivy Street Southeast.

As of approximately 9:40 p.m., law enforcement maintained a presence with at least 100 officers on-site, following the removal of protesters. A police line encircled the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and officers equipped with riot gear, along with an armored vehicle, were deployed. South Capitol Street, spanning from Canal Street to E Street Southeast, and Ivy Street, between Canal Street and New Jersey Avenue Southeast, were closed.

The lockdown on House office buildings was lifted, returning to normal operations around 10:06 p.m. Capitol Police affirmed their intention to remain on the scene even after the departure of the protesters.

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