Some White House employees had to be moved to another location on Saturday night when a demonstration by pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli protesters outside the president’s official residence and workplace got intense and turned into a riot.
White House staff 'relocated' after pro-Palestinian rioters damage anti-scale fencing, hurl objects at cops https://t.co/s6pnAqR6FN
— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 14, 2024
Per Fox News, the protesters were chanting, “Ceasefire Now,” “Free, Free Palestine” and “Yemen, Yemen make us proud / Turn another ship around.”
Many of the demonstrators were waving Palestinian flags. But it was not the chants and the flags that led to the relocation of White House staff members.
According to the U.S. Secret Service, some fences outside the White House were damaged amid the protest. As a result, staff members as well as journalists were “relocated.”
“During the demonstration near the White House complex Jan. 13, a portion of the anti-scale fencing that was erected for the event sustained temporary damage. The issues were promptly repaired on site by U.S. Secret Service support teams,” a statement from the Secret Service to Fox News read, adding, “As a precaution, some members of the media and staff in proximity to Pennsylvania Avenue were temporarily relocated while the issue was being addressed.”
According to the Secret Service, the White House itself did not sustain any damage.
President Joe Biden was not at the White House when the incident happened, as the White House said earlier that he was at Camp David.
No arrests were made that night, as the Secret Service’s statement read, “The Secret Service made no arrests associated with the march and there was no property damage to the White House or adjacent buildings.”
In a press release later that night, Metropolitan Police Department Chief Pamela A. Smith condemned the protest at the White House, calling it “destructive behavior.”
“The right to peacefully protest is one of the cornerstones of our democracy, and the Metropolitan Police Department has long supported those who visit our city to demonstrate safely. However, violence, destructive behavior, and criminal activities are not tolerated.”
The Saturday night demonstration was reportedly part of a “global day of action” for pro-Palestine supporters to demand a ceasefire in the fighting in Gaza between Israel and Hamas. The protests, which also happened in London, were also aimed at opposing the U.S. and British governments’ support for Israel.