A massive gathering of pro-Palestinian demonstrators swarmed the Cannon Rotunda inside the US Capitol in Washington today, demanding an immediate ceasefire in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
The unprecedented demonstration has resulted in the arrest of nearly 300 protesters.
Access to the Capitol complex was restricted following the disruption caused by demonstrators advocating for ceasefire. Protesters belonging to various groups chanted "ceasefire now", including members from Jewish organisations who carried placards reading "ceasefire" and "Jews say, ceasefire now."
As the protests unfolded, reports stated that the police had advised using underground tunnels instead of the main entrance and exit doors. The House sergeant-at-arms subsequently issued a memo to congressional offices, notifying them of the limited access for visitors to a single door in an effort to control entry into the campus.
Pre-emptive measures were taken to secure the Capitol building in anticipation of the demonstration. The protests came after more than 500 Palestinians were killed in a blast at Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza that Israeli and Palestinian officials blamed on each other.
The US Capitol Police (USCP) stated that demonstrations inside congressional buildings are not permitted. USCP worked to clear the protesters from the building, leading to multiple arrests.
The situation at the Capitol complex has since been brought under control, with authorities stating that the rotunda is clear of illegal protesters and that USCP is processing the arrests.
The large-scale demonstration follows a similar event at the White House earlier this week that also resulted in dozens of arrests. The protesters are collectively mourning the thousands of lives lost since the start of the war on October 7.
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