WASHINGTON: Several dozen activists calling for the United States to push for a permanent ceasefire between Israel and Hamas briefly protested in a US Senate office building on Monday before police ended the protest and took dozens into custody.
Groups, including the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights and Jewish Voice for Peace organized the protest, which called for the US government to divert funds to domestic priorities such as affordable housing and childcare instead of further arming Israel with US weapons.
One activist was arrested after he climbed up onto a 51-foot (15.5 m) high black steel sculpture by artist Alexander Calder. Others chanted “ceasefire now” and wore shirts with the slogan “invest in life” as they linked arms.
US Capitol Police said they arrested 51 people in total as a result of the demonstration. Reuters images show activists engaging in civil disobedience in Hart Senate Office Building, part of the US Capitol complex where many senators and committees have their offices.
“Funding more death and destruction of human life...makes no one secure, and instead fuels hatred and continued war,” Sandra Tamari, executive director of the Adalah Justice Project, one of the groups involved in the protest. “The Senate must heed our urgent demand to stop funding militarism and instead invest in life.”
The Gaza health ministry said 18,205 people had now been killed and 49,645 wounded in air strikes on Gaza since Israel attacked the territory in retaliation for Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, which led to the deaths of roughly 1,200 Israelis.