Dec 19, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Gaza ceasefire protest in Capitol rotunda leads to 60 arrests

The U.S. Capitol rotunda on Sept. 27. Photo: Michael Robinson Chávez/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Roughly 60 protestors calling for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war were arrested Tuesday for holding a demonstration in the U.S. Capitol rotunda, the Capitol Police said.

Why it matters: It's one of multiple such demonstrations that have rocked Capitol Hill – with lawmakers on edge about their security – since the onset of the war in October.

What they're saying: "Aware of a group's potential plan to take a tour of the U.S. Capitol Building and then start a protest," the Capitol Police said in a statement.

  • "It is against the law to demonstrate inside the Congressional Buildings, so we brought in additional officers to be prepared for the moment the group would break the law."
  • According to the statement, the protestors underwent the standard security screening for tour groups and were arrested once they began demonstrating and charged with "crowding, obstructing or incommoding."

The backdrop: Capitol Hill has seen several unusually large and raucous protests related to the war in Gaza.

  • A protest in the rotunda of the Cannon House Office building in October led the House sergeant-at-arms to restrict access to the Capitol and resulted in roughly 300 arrests.
  • Another protest outside the Democratic National Committee last month, in which demonstrators barricaded the exit with Democratic lawmakers inside, resulted in the nearby Capitol complex being briefly locked down.
  • House Democrats this month launched a task force to respond to the growing threats and security concerns, Axios previously reported.
Go deeper