In a call for an end to “genocide” in Gaza, a handful of Jewish protesters who joined a pro-Palestinian rally in Washington, D.C., on Monday were arrested, accused of blocking entrances to the White House.
One of the organizations behind the protest, IfNotNow, reported on X, formerly Twitter, that Secret Service Police began arresting demonstrators after the group reportedly blocked off all entrances to the White House. The progressive organization also shared videos and photos of protesters singing and holding signs that read, “Stop Genocide in Gaza” and “My grief is not your weapon.”
“Today, thousands of American Jews and allies marched to the White House to demand that President [Joe] Biden use his leverage to implement a ceasefire and force Israel to halt its genocide of Palestinians in Gaza,” IfNotNow told Newsweek in a statement.
“Led by American Jews connected with IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace, today’s action represents a growing wave of Jewish, progressive, and youth leaders calling on President Biden to de-escalate the conflict, restrain Israeli aggression, and ensure the safe return of Israeli civilian hostages.”
A video shared by IfNotNow shows protesters continuing to sing while handcuffed and sitting on the sidewalk among a group of police officers. It is unclear how many protesters were detained.
In another clip, demonstrators are seen blocking an entrance to the White House while chanting, “No ceasefire, no exit.”
Daily Caller reporter Arjun Singh reported on X that protesters were arrested after having “rushed the gate of The White House.” Newsweek has not been able to confirm which events led up to the detainment.
In another video posted by Los Angeles-based KNX News, correspondent Craig Fiegener said that the protest had blocked off the entrance that is typically utilized by members of the media to get into the White House complex.
“We’re just told to kind of hang out here,” Fiegener added in his video, which he said was taken from within the White House gates.
Newsweek reached out to the White House via email for more information Monday afternoon.
The recent escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has sparked protests across the country in recent weeks. Several groups have gathered in support of Palestinians over fears that Israel’s response in the Gaza Strip could lead to a human rights crisis. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that his country was at war after the Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a surprise and deadly attack on Israelis October 7.
On Friday, approximately 80 Jewish protesters across five major U.S. cities were arrested after participating in protests that called on officials to stop Israel’s aggression toward Palestinians. Jewish Voices for Peace, which helped organize Monday’s protest in Washington, said in a press release shared with Newsweek that Friday’s demonstration in New York City was the “largest protest in support of Palestinian human rights in history” and said that some of those arrested were “descendants of Holocaust survivors.”
Since fighting broke out following Hamas’ attack, at least 2,670 Palestinians have been killed and an additional 9,600 injured, according to the Gaza Health Ministry as reported by the Associated Press (AP).
Hamas’ attack on Israel resulted in the deaths of over 1,400 Israelis, AP added, as well as roughly 155 people being taken hostage by the militant group. U.S. officials have said that at least 30 U.S. citizens were killed in the assault and another 13 remain unaccounted for.
Update 10/16/2023, 4:27 p.m. ET: This article has been updated with additional information and background.