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Dozens arrested protesting Israel-Gaza war inside U.S. Capitol rotunda

U.S. Capitol Police arrested approximately 60 protesters who demonstrated inside the U.S. Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. The protesters were demanding a permanent cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war, as they chanted "No more money for Israel's crimes!" Photo by Julia Nikhinson/UPI
1 of 6 | U.S. Capitol Police arrested approximately 60 protesters who demonstrated inside the U.S. Capitol rotunda in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. The protesters were demanding a permanent cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war, as they chanted "No more money for Israel's crimes!" Photo by Julia Nikhinson/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 19 (UPI) -- About 60 protesters were arrested Tuesday inside the U.S. Capitol rotunda, as they called for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war, according to Capitol Police, who said the group entered the building as a tour group.

"Not another nickel! Not another dime! No more money for Israel's crimes!" the group of approximately 60 protesters chanted as they unfurled a "Stop Funding Violence" sign. Other protesters pulled out signs that read "Cease-Fire" and "Divest from militarism, invest in life," before they were arrested.

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"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 a statement, adding that they were "aware of a group's potential plan to take a tour of the U.S. Capitol Building and then start a protest."

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"The group was screened when they entered the building. Once they broke the law, roughly 60 people were immediately arrested for violating D.C. Code 22-1307 -- Crowding, Obstructing or Incommoding."

The Grassroots Global Justice Alliance posted video in a post on X, formerly Twitter, of the protesters chanting "From Palestine to Mexico, all borders and militarized violence have got to go!" The group also posted government funding measures, that would support Israel and secure borders, which are still in debate.

The dozens of groups involved in the protest, including Adalah Justice Project and the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, issued a statement Tuesday outlining their demands.

"We want Congress and President Biden to act on a permanent cease-fire now by stopping all military funding to Israel," the groups said.

"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!"

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The latest spending package introduced in the Senate would allocate $14.3 billion in military funding to Israel and nearly $8 billion to border immigration enforcement agencies. Earlier this month, Senate Republicans blocked the package over a lack of border provisions, as Democrats vowed to add more than $60 billion in proposed aid for Ukraine in its war against Russia.

While the U.S. Attorney's Office has not said whether there will be charges filed against Tuesday's protesters, Republicans were quick to equate the demonstration with Jan. 6, 2021, when supporters of former President Donald Trump fought to disrupt the certification of President Joe Biden's election win.

"Insurrection happening now in the Capitol!!!" Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, R-Ga., wrote in a post Tuesday on X. "Arrest them all and throw them in the DC gulag in solitary confinement just like J6'ers!"

Security concerns at the U.S. Capitol and in Washington, D.C., have become heightened since the war between Israel and Hamas began on Oct. 7. Last month, more than 100 people were injured outside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, where protesters called for a cease-fire of Israeli military action in Gaza. Capitol Police evacuated all members of Congress from the area.

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