Once again a mostly peaceful protest has inexplicably ended up in violence — this time outside of the Democratic National Convention headquarters in Washington, DC. Ironically, this latest batch of protesters were calling for a ceasefire in Israel as they initiated their own violence on the streets of the nation’s capital.
A pro-Palestine protest was held Wednesday night outside the DNC headquarters as Democratic lawmakers gathered in the building for a fundraiser. During the melée, Capitol Police evacuated the top House Democrats from the building, including House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, House Minority Whip Katherine Clark and Representative Pete Aguilar.
The night began with a candlelight vigil down the street from the DNC before turning violent. Protesters then marched to the building and blocked its exits to force politicians to encounter the vigil, in an act which organizer called a “a moral act of civil disobedience.” Fighting erupted once the police arrived and began to break up the barricade.
Jewish Voice for Peace Action, the self-described largest progressive Jewish anti-Zionist organization in the world, helped to organize the protest. A quick visit to their website shows that combating antisemitism is only a small part of the group’s mission. They are instead focused on making Palestinian rights a core of the leftist agenda.
Of course, the affair has turned into a classic “he said, she said,” with both sides blaming each other for escalating the violence. While Cockburn will always be suspicious of gangs of Marxists wearing N-95s, he can’t say the Capitol Police is known for their competence either.
Police said six officers were treated for minor injuries and one protester was arrested for assaulting an officer. They claim the group moved dumpsters in front of the building and used pepper spray on officers.
“We have handled hundreds of peaceful protests, but last night’s group was not peaceful. The crowd failed to obey our lawful orders to move back from the DNC, where members of Congress were in the building,” the DC police said in an updated statement Thursday morning.
Protest organizers claim that ninety demonstrators were harmed and at least one person is being treated for a concussion. Organizers accused the police of shoving the protesters down the steps, pepper-spraying them and choking one of their members without warning.
Unfortunately for protesters, in blockading the DNC, they lost the support of their own party. Democratic lawmakers caught inside the building have came out against the violence.
“The one point I want to make is, yesterday, there were 200,000 pro-Israel demonstrators, with a permit, entirely peaceful,” said California representative Brad Sherman, speaking about Wednesday’s March for Israel. “And, here, you have a demonstration, less than 1,000th as large, that’s also getting publicity and it’s getting publicity because their willingness to attack police