Pro-Palestine protesters rally at Rep. Betty McCollum’s office, several detained by police
Protesters in support of Palestinians gathered at Rep. Betty McCollum’s office in St. Paul on Wednesday night, demanding that she vote against President Joe Biden’s proposed $14 billion in aid to Israel.
A 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS camera captured protesters inside the building, banging on windows and chanting along with another contingent of demonstrators out in the parking lot. St. Paul police say just over a dozen protesters entered the building and refused to leave, and about 250-300 protesters blocked two sides of the same building.
When officers entered the building after being contacted by McCollum’s staff around 9:30 p.m., they found 11 protesters inside and repeatedly asked to them to leave due to trespassing.
Several protesters were later captured on camera being detained with zip ties, with police specifying later this was a group of 10 adults and one juvenile, and no force was used.
According to police, the teen was released on scene to her parents, and the adults were cited and then released after being escorted off the property.
The four staffers who were inside were later escorted out of the building after it was cleared by police.
In a news release sent to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, the Minnesota Anti-War Committee said that protesters made it inside McCollum’s office and the protesters wouldn’t leave until “they get to speak to the representative about her silence on the loss of Palestinian lives.”
The group also demands that McCollum release a statement calling for Israeli forces to stop bombing Gaza, for a humanitarian corridor to be opened to allow resources to reach the people of Gaza and for no Israeli ground invasion of Gaza.
Rep. McCollum’s office confirmed that she is currently in Washington, D.C., and that she is aware of the protesters and their demands.
A spokesperson from McCollum’s office said that her chief of staff spoke with the protesters over the phone and offered to set up a meeting with the congresswoman on Monday if she is able to return to Minnesota. However, the protesters “did not respond to this offer.”
“At the end of the business day, protesters were informed the office was closed, and that staff needed go home. Local authorities were informed to ensure everyone can get home safely,” the spokesperson said.