White House staff moved as pro-Palestinian protesters threaten to enter building

 January 14, 2024

Thousands of pro-Palestine supporters gathered at the White House, demanding a ceasefire in Gaza, resulting in White House staff being relocated and a temporary breach of the security fence.

Law enforcement, equipped with riot gear, faced a crowd pelting them with dolls and various objects.

The scene

Video footage captured the intense moment when portions of the security fence were shaken, prompting swift responses from Secret Service operatives to prevent a breach.

The Secret Service later confirmed "temporary damage" to the anti-scale fencing, which was promptly repaired.

The demonstration marked 100 days since the Hamas attack on October 7, with protesters symbolically throwing bloodied dolls over the White House fence to represent child victims of the conflict.

The rally, the second-largest in support of Gaza in Washington D.C. since the conflict began, was part of a global day of protests.

The background

Since the October 7 attack, Israel's retaliatory campaign has resulted in the deaths of over 23,800 people in Gaza, according to the nation's health ministry.

The demonstration prompted the evacuation of White House staff and journalists due to the temporary destruction caused during the rally.

Protesters used emotive symbols, such as bloodied dolls, to convey their message, and women in Palestinian dress staged a sit-down protest. Nearly two-thirds of the conflict's casualties have been women and children, as reported by the Health Ministry in the Hamas-run territory.

The demonstrators

Demonstrators carried Palestinian flags and held signs questioning President Joe Biden's support for Israel. Some signs read "No votes for Genocide Joe," "Biden has blood on his hands," and "Let Gaza live."

The rally included chants in support of South Africa, whose accusations of genocide against Israel prompted the International Court of Justice to address the case.

The diverse group of protesters expressed various perspectives. Some attendees wanted a free Gaza but expressed dissatisfaction with both Biden and a potential Republican presidential nominee. Others called for Pope Francis to excommunicate Biden due to his staunch support for Israel.

Organized by the American Muslim Task Force for Palestine and other groups, the rally was part of a coordinated effort with demonstrations in various international cities, including London, Paris, Rome, Dublin, Johannesburg and Kuala Lumpur. The protests add to safety concerns alongside other recent events by such groups in recent days that have threatened Americans and have displayed antisemitism.

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