Capitol Police arrested seven people Thursday who held a sit-in at House Democratic whip Steny Hoyer’s office, officials said.
The protesters were demanding to meet with the Southern Maryland lawmaker about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
A group of about 12 protesters gathered in Hoyer’s office Thursday afternoon and refused to leave. They carried photos of Yemeni children, and some had their hands painted red.
They were motivated by “desperation and frustration that people continue to die in Yemen,” said David Bradbury, an Australian filmmaker who attended the protest. Years of war have devastated the country and about 75 percent of the its population is in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the United Nations. The Yemeni children’s poorest country has faced sustained bombings and famine.
The protesters believed that Hoyer has not used his “pivotal, crucial role in Congress” to spur the necessary action, Bradbury said.
Capitol Police spokeswoman Eva Malecki said the group was charged with unlawful entry.
Annaliese Davis, a spokeswoman for Hoyer, said that when Capitol Police closed the office building at 7 p.m., the protesters were asked to leave and refused.
"A group of individuals arrived in Congressman Hoyer's office this afternoon, and asked for a meeting with the Congressman,” Davis wrote in an email. “Unfortunately Mr. Hoyer was unavailable, but the individuals were offered a meeting with staff, which they refused.”