A violent clash outside the Democratic National Committee headquarters has resulted in conflicting accounts from police and protesters about exactly what happened.
Hundreds of anti-war protesters gathered outside the DNC in Washington, D.C., not far from the Capitol, on Wednesday night for what they said was to be a vigil to demand a cease-fire in Israel's bombing and military invasion of Gaza in its hunt for Hamas terrorists.
Several Democratic lawmakers inside the building had to be evacuated.
The demonstration's organizers said when they "nonviolently blocked" an entrance they were "violently attacked" by law enforcement.
But U.S. Capitol Police disputed their claim the protest had been peaceful.
"We have handled hundreds of peaceful protests, but last night's group was not peaceful," U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement Thursday morning. "The crowd failed to obey our lawful orders to move back from the DNC, where Members of Congress were in the building."
"When the group moved dumpsters in front of the exits, pepper sprayed our officers and attempted to pick up the bike rack, our teams quickly introduced consequences -- pulling people off the building, pushing them back, and clearing them from the area, so we could safely evacuate the Members and staff," the police said.
Six officers sustained injuries, the statement said, and one person was arrested for assault after allegedly slamming an officer "into a garage door" and punching a female officer.
"Last night our team was quick, decisive, courageous and in control," U.S. Capitol Police said. "When demonstrations cross the line into illegal activity it is our responsibility to maintain order and ensure people's safety."
If Not Now, Jewish Voice for Peace Action and Democratic Socialists of America -- the groups behind the demonstration -- said in a news conference on Thursday morning 90 protesters had been injured. Jewish Voice for Peace Action's Dani Noble, who said she was on the ground at the DNC on Wednesday night, said protesters were pepper sprayed and thrown on the pavement.
Noble said the police "didn't give any warning" before acting, contradicting the statement from the Capitol Police that the crowd failed to obey orders to move back.
Several members of Congress denounced the protesters' actions. House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Republican, called it a "vile display of anti-semitism."
House Democratic leaders Hakeem Jeffries, Katherine Clark and Pete Aguilar said some protesters behavior “exceeded a peaceful demonstration." The three lawmakers were at the DNC on Wednesday night for a candidate forum.
"We are thankful for the service and professionalism of the U.S. Capitol Police officers who worked to ensure that Members, staff and visitors were able to safely exit," they said in a statement Thursday. "We strongly support the First Amendment right to freedom of expression and encourage anyone exercising that right to do so peacefully."
DNC chairman Jaime Harrison offered a similar response, saying he was "grateful" staff and visitors were evacuated and that "as Americans we have a right to demonstrate peacefully, but violence is never acceptable."
Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman of California, a staunch supporter of Israel who was also at the DNC when police came in to escort them away, spoke with ABC News about the evacuation and his thoughts on the protest.
"Why were we retreating? We were in the right," Sherman said. "This was our building. We were holding our conference. And since when do we allow people to disrupt the Democratic Party? And who are these people that seem to want to prevent us from electing Democratic members of Congress."
Sherman also said there was "some effort" to break into the building.
Noble rejected claims that protestors attempted to enter the building by force.
"And absolutely, in no instance, did anyone try to enter the building and spreading misinformation to the contrary is extremely, extremely dangerous," she said. "We were there peacefully singing and and chanting, waiting for Democratic officials to show up so that we could actually engage and bring our message."
Rabbi Jessica Rosenberg with Jewish Voice for Peace said it was an attempt to get lawmakers to explain why they're not calling for a cease-fire as well.
"Our intent in blocking various entrances was to make one path for congresspeople and elected officials coming and going so that we could speak to them," Rosenberg said. "We've been calling their offices every day for months, desperately trying to get meetings I've been trying to get meetings with my representatives, often ignored, very frequently ignored. And so we tried to make one way for people to enter and exit the buildings so that we could talk to them. So that they would see our signs and our candles and hear the voices of people calling for a cease-fire."
Both the Israeli government and the Biden administration have rejected calls for a general cease-fire, but Israel agreed last week to 4-hour daily humanitarian pauses in fighting in Gaza.
-ABC News' Lauren Peller and Luke Barr contributed to this report.
Police, cease-fire protesters blame each other for violent clash outside DNC originally appeared on abcnews.go.com