Hundreds of protesters demonstrated on Capitol Hill and occupied part of a House office building on Wednesday, urging lawmakers and the Biden administration to push for a cease-fire, which has been under Israeli airstrikes since a deadly Hamas terror attack.
Dressed in black T-shirts emblazoned with the words “Jews say cease fire now” and “Not in our name,” the activists sat clapping and singing on the floor in the rotunda of the Cannon House Office Building and held up large banners that read “Ceasefire” and “Let Gaza Live.”
“We warned the protestors to stop demonstrating and when they did not comply we began arresting them,” the U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Capitol Police said protests are not allowed inside the building. They told CBS News the protesters entered the building legally and properly through visitor security checkpoints, and were permitted to gather and congregate, but failed to follow police warnings after beginning the demonstrations.
Police gave an early estimate that about 300 demonstrators were arrested, but said the number could grow as they continue processing arrests.
The protest was organized by the group Jewish Voice for Peace, a Jewish anti-Zionist organization.
Before the sit-in, hundreds of people had gathered on the National Mall near the Capitol urging the Biden administration to call for a cease-fire.
“Biden really is the only one that has the power to pressure Israel right now and he needs to use that power to save innocent lives,” Hannah Lawrence, 32, who came from Vermont.
Linda Holtzman, 71, a rabbi from Philadelphia, demanded an immediate cease-fire and urged Biden to “open your eyes.”
“Look at what’s happening in Gaza. Look at the,” said Holtzman. “If you want to be able to live with yourself, you need to stand up and end the genocide. I demand a cease-fire right now.”
–Scott MacFarlane contributed reporting.