Dozens were arrested at the White House as demonstrators called for an end to the Israeli response to the Hamas attack
More than 30 people were arrested Monday afternoon outside the White House, after they crossed barriers and blocked entrances to the complex during protests by far-left Jewish groups demanding an end to the escalating war between Israel and Hamas, the Secret Service said.
A Secret Service spokesman said those arrested were charged with unlawful entry or disturbance and were transferred to local police for processing.
The agency does not usually identify detainees and did not mention the names of those detained on Monday. Washington Police did not immediately respond to questions about the arrests.
Hamas, a Palestinian armed political group, launched a terrorist attack on Israel on October 7, including numerous rocket launches and a ground invasion, according to Israeli officials.
Since then, Israel has launched a large-scale military operation in response, including launching raids into Gaza, the blockaded Palestinian territory adjacent to Israel and controlled by Hamas.
More than 1,400 people have died in Israel and more than 2,700 in Gaza, according to Israeli and Palestinian health authorities.
Monday’s protesters were organized by two groups, IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace. They walked from Farragut Square to the White House.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the White House, some carrying signs such as “Jews say: Ceasefire now,” “My grief is not your weapon,” “No to war, no to apartheid,” and “Stop genocide in Gaza.”
The Anti-Defamation League, a leading Jewish group combating anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination, has described Jewish Voice for Peace as “radical” and “anti-Israel,” with views that fall outside the “mainstream Jewish community.”
Israel has long maintained that it has the right to self-defense against Hamas and other attacks, and that it is taking steps to limit civilian casualties. Israeli leaders also rejected allegations that they practice legal discrimination against Palestinians.
However, international observers have criticized the Israeli military for not giving more time for civilians to leave Gaza amid its military operations against Hamas, and the United Nations has repeatedly appealed to allow aid into the area.
Two Jewish protesters outside the White House said Monday they traveled from New York and told ABC News’ White House correspondent Selena Wang that President Joe Biden’s handling of the crisis was “shameful” and “disastrous,” and criticized Israel’s conservative government.
One protester said that continuing the conflict “will not keep our family safe. We don’t believe this will keep our community safe.”
She added: “We are here fighting for the survival of the Jews and the survival of the Palestinians.”
Eva Borgwardt, political director of IfNotNow, said the protesters want an “immediate ceasefire and de-escalation of the current crisis” that includes the Israeli military ending its operations in response to Hamas.
“We are here because we see that our future and our safety are intertwined… Everyone is sad. Everyone is terrified. It is very clear that the status quo is completely unsustainable. And thousands, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of lives are being lied to.” “In the balance,” Borgwardt said.
“We didn’t come here to get arrested,” said Yotam Marom, one of IfNotNow’s founding members. “We came here to stop them from doing what they’re doing. If they want to arrest us, it’s up to them.”
Biden has expressed his explicit support for Israel in the wake of the Hamas attack. But he said on “60 Minutes” on Sunday that the possibility of Israel occupying Gaza as part of an invasion targeting Hamas would be a “big mistake.”
He also expressed his dissatisfaction with the “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza.
Biden said on 60 Minutes: “What happened in Gaza, in my opinion, is Hamas. And the extremist elements in Hamas do not represent all of the Palestinian people.”
ABC News’ Ben Gittleson contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared on abcnews.go.com