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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - WASHINGTON — At least 300 people have been arrested near the US Capitol after a protest against the Israel-Hamas war.
That number is likely to rise as more arrests are processed, police said, adding that three people were charged with assaulting a police officer.
Most were arrested inside the Cannon House Office Building, where protests are not permitted.
The demonstrators called on President Joe Biden and Congress to push for a ceasefire in Gaza.
The rally in Washington DC was organized by two fringe left-wing Jewish campaign groups, Jewish Voice for Peace and If Not Now, which advocate against the State of Israel.
Police closed streets around the Capitol complex on Wednesday, saying a large group of protesters were walking in the road.
Some of the group then occupied part of the Cannon House Office Building, which is used by congressional staffers. Hundreds more gathered outside the building where they sang in both Hebrew and English.
Those inside wore black T-shirts that read "Jews say ceasefire now" and "Not in our name". Others carried banners reading "Ceasefire" and sang songs while sitting on the floor in the rotunda.
"We warned the protesters to stop demonstrating and when they did not comply we began arresting them," the Capitol police force said on Wednesday afternoon.
Some were seen being restrained with zip-ties and led away to police vans. Three of those arrested were later charged with assaulting a police officer.
One protest organiser at the Capitol used a megaphone to call for "equality, justice and freedom".
"The only way towards true safety... is to de-escalate, and address the root causes of this horrific violence," the woman said.
The protest came on the same day that President Biden landed in Israel to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his war cabinet.
Biden said during the visit that Israel had a right to hit back for the Hamas attack on 7 October that left 1,400 people dead.
At least 3,000 people have been killed in retaliatory Israeli strikes on Gaza, according to Palestinian health officials. — BBC
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