(Jacob Bruns, Headline USA) Capitol Police arrested approximately 130 Mennonite protesters at the Cannon House Office Building rotunda on Tuesday during a sit-in calling for a cease-fire in Gaza, the Washington Post reported.
The Cannon protesters were charged with “crowding, obstructing, or incommoding” under the Washington, D.C., city code. It is unclear why the group was not charged under U.S. code, as others have been in similar circumstances in accordance with Title 40 Ch. 2 § 193.
“Demonstrations are not allowed inside Congressional Buildings, so when they started to protest and refused to stop, we began arresting them,” a Capitol Police statement said.
Jonathan Brenneman, a spokesperson for the activist group Mennonite Action, said that the group was committed to checking the opinions of their opponents, “Christian nationalists” who champion “Israel’s genocide” against the people of Gaza.
“We felt compelled to speak clearly as Christians,” he claimed.
According to Brenneman, the purpose of the protest was to “to demand a cease-fire … to call for a release of all hostages—Israeli and Palestinian—and an end to the occupation.”
Although Palestine has never been formally recognized as a country, Gaza has held autonomous elections—free from Israeli control—since 1994, and first democratically elected the terrorist group Hamas to lead its government in 2006.
However, many Palestinians also consider Israel itself to be “occupied” territory and are seeking to obliterate the Jewish nation–state, which was established in 1948 to resettle European Jews displaced by the Holocaust in their ancestral holy land, and quickly became a destination for those from various other parts of the Arab world who felt persecuted by their adoptive countries.
The current cease-fire between the two hostile neighbors was broken following an Oct. 7, 2023, massacre, during which Hamas raped, tortured and slaughtered an estimated 1,200 innocent Israeli civilians in an unnannounced and unprovoked attack.
The Mennonites, who are committed to pacifism, conducted the sit-in in order to “use our voices as powerfully as possible” for the “cause of peace and justice” throughout the world.
In video footage posted to Mennonite Action’s Instagram account, the nonviolent insurrectionists can be heard singing in unison as they call for a ceasefire in the Middle East.
The group’s website called the conflict in the Middle East “unprecedented” and “tragic.”
In response to such situations, they draw on the “Mennonite history of opposing war” and in “providing aid and relief to Palestine and to the Middle East,” it said.