Protesters call for cease-fire as Senate looks to exit

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Dozens of protestors gathered in the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday to call for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war, as the Senate gears up to leave Washington for the holidays.

U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) promptly arrested members of the group as they began protesting, escorting about 60 demonstrators out of the Capitol Rotunda one by one with their wrists zip-tied.

“We were aware of a group’s potential plan to take a tour of the U.S. Capitol Building and then start a protest. 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,” Capitol Police said in an emailed statement.

“The group was screened when they entered the building. Once they broke the law, roughly 60 people were immediately arrested for D.C. Code § 22–1307 — Crowding, Obstructing, or Incommoding.”

Protesters had been chanting and carrying signs calling for a cease-fire. One long banner read, “The people chose life. Ceasefire now!”

USCP blocked onlookers from entering the rotunda, as they sought to calm the situation.

In a statement, the protest organizers said the protest was a joint effort among 87 national movement and organizational leaders.

“We want Congress and Biden to act on Permanent Ceasefire Now by stopping all military funding to Israel,” the organizers wrote in a joint statement.

“We demand that the United States stop arming Israel and facilitating genocide in Gaza. We demand that there be no further border violence or genocide in our names, funded with our tax dollars. In short, we demand that our leaders divest from militarism, and invest in life!” they continued.

In a press release, they underscored the urgency of the moment.

“As the year comes to an end, and the bombs continue to fall on Gaza, killing an average of 280 people per day, we implore President Biden to demand an end to the violence in Gaza and at our Southern Border,” the release read.

The demonstration comes against the backdrop of Senate negotiations over Biden’s $100 billion supplemental spending request for Ukraine, Israel and other national security priorities.

Although senators have offered optimism about eventually reaching a deal that also includes major immigration reforms, Senate Republicans have said there’s no chance of an agreement before Christmas.

Even if the Senate does agree on a bill, it will face another series of hurdles in the GOP-controlled House.

Updated: 2:06 p.m.

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