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52 protesters calling for Gaza cease-fire arrested at Senate offices of Warren, Sanders, others

United States Capitol Police arrested 52 demonstrators on Friday who crowded into the offices of several lawmakers including Senators Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey, and Bernie Sanders to demand an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, officials said.

“ACTION UPDATE This morning, activists gathered at the offices of Senators Warren, Sanders, [Jeff] Merkle[y], [Brian] Schatz, and [Chris] Van Hollen to demand a #CeasefireNOW,” wrote the US Campaign For Palestinian Rights on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Demonstrators held signs and banners that said “Cease Fire Now,” and “#Stop Arming Israel,” according to photos of the protests uploaded to social media.

At Markey’s office, protesters unfurled a banner with names of Palestinians killed “that says CEASEFIRE NOW and flowers,” the rights group said. “They’re sharing stories about why they’re here and about Palestinian families who have been killed.”

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The Capitol Police said in a statement that 52 people were arrested on the charge of “Crowding, Obstructing, or Incommoding – for illegally protesting inside a Congressional Office Building.”

Requests for comment were sent Friday afternoon to the offices of Markey, Warren, and Sanders, all Democrats.

Israeli troops on Friday tightened their encirclement of Gaza City, the focus of their campaign to crush the enclave’s ruling Hamas militants, who launched a brutal attack on Israeli communities that killed more than 1,400 people and started the war. More than 200 people were also taken hostage.

But ever since that Oct. 7 assault, there have been concerns the conflict could ignite fighting on other fronts, and Israel and the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah have repeatedly traded fire along the Lebanon border.

More than 9,200 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza so far, mostly women and minors, and more and than 23,000 people have been wounded, the Gaza Health Ministry said, without providing a breakdown between civilians and fighters.

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“The disaster in Gaza cannot continue,” Sanders wrote Thursday on X. “The world must act to save innocent lives. But just as a humanitarian response is critical, it is equally important to lay out a path to a two-state solution and a democratic Palestine. Israel cannot bomb its way to a long-term solution.”

Sanders also wrote on X Thursday that Israel must “end this violence,” referring to reports of Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank.

“Attention is obviously now focused on the crisis in Gaza, but West Bank violence has also increased,” Sanders wrote. “The UN reports 170 settler attacks in the West Bank, and 121 Palestinians have been killed since October 7. Israel must end this violence.”

Warren on Friday took to X to call for more civilian aid to be delivered to Gaza.

“Civilians in Gaza desperately need more humanitarian aid,” Warren wrote above a copy of a letter she and Markey sent Thursday to Biden administration officials expressing “concern” for the relatively small amount of aid that had been allowed in so far.

The U.N. estimates Gaza needs at least 100 aid trucks per day,” Warren wrote on X. “@SenMarkey and I urged @SecBlinken and @JakeSullivan46 to do more to protect Palestinian lives and everything possible to secure the release of hostages.”

Markey on Thursday had written on X that he was pleased that a Medway family managed to leave Gaza after being trapped there for weeks amid the bombardment.

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“Good news that Abood, Wafaa, and Yousef Okal are on their way home after weeks of advocacy with @SenWarren to the White House, State Department, and Egyptian and Israeli governments,” Markey wrote. “We will continue working to ensure all Massachusetts and American families get home safely.”

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. This breaking news story will be updated when more information is released.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com.