Far-left protesters with hands covered in red paint have repeatedly interrupted a congressional hearing on US military aid, demanding that Washington stop funding Israel’s fight against Hamas and calling for a ceasefire.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin are appealing to the Senate Appropriations Committee for billions of dollars in military assistance to support Israel, Ukraine and other security costs.
Some two dozen spectators have raised hands covered in paint in a symbol of the bloodshed in the Gaza Strip since Israel declared war and said it would topple the Hamas terror group, which rules the Palestinian territory, after Hamas’s murderous shock onslaught on October 7.
Several had “Free Gaza” written on their arms and held signs demanding “No more $$$ 4 Israel,” while some cry out “Ceasefire now,” “Palestinians are not animals” and “Shame on you all.”
One man wore a shirt reading “Stop backing genocide.”
Blinken has been forced to stop speaking several times as some demonstrators were escorted out by police.
a group of demonstrators interrupts Blinken's opening statement for a fifth time and this time for an extended period pic.twitter.com/FVU0pMbmGh
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) October 31, 2023
Responding to the calls from the protesters in his remarks, Blinken says the US is committed to protecting civilians in Gaza but asserts that it does not support a ceasefire at this moment because it simply would allow Hamas to regroup and commit another massacre like it did on October 7.
US President Joe Biden has asked Congress for more than $105 billion in security spending, including $14.3 billion for its staunch ally Israel.