Police Use Water Cannons and More to Disperse Tel Aviv Protestors

On Thursday, police arrested dozens of protestors and used mounted officers and water cannons for dispersing the demonstrators in Tel Aviv and Haifa.

There were rallies all over Israel on Thursday, which had been termed a ‘national day of paralysis’, in reaction to the government’s continued efforts to pass legislation for weakening and politicizing the judiciary.

The measures

The police used water cannons for dispersing the protestors in two cities, as they were trying to block the roads.

While the police had used this particular measure of crowd-control for dealing with anti-overhaul protestors previously, it was the first time they did so in the city of Haifa.

In Tel Aviv, protestors had blocked the Ayalon Highway due to which the police used water cannons and mounted police to get them to back off.

It took more than two hours for the police to be able to clear the protestors, but they returned after five minutes for blocking the southbound lanes.

The northbound lanes remained unblocked, but the police could be seen dragging off the demonstrators.

Furthermore, the police also detained dozens of people at a number of locations over alleged public disturbances, which included Ra’anana, Tel Aviv and Haifa.

The arrests

There was a recording of a woman hitting Avi Dichter, the Agriculture Minister, with a flag on the head and was subsequently arrested.

The minister remained unhurt and walked to his car. It was unclear if the woman had hit the minister intentionally, or not.

Shikma Bressler, one of the leaders of the protests, had also been detained after she attended a rally, along with hundreds of employees at the Rafael defense company in the north of the country on Route 4.

However, she was released later on. Ehud Barak, the former prime minister, had stated that her arrest was dictatorship. The reason for her arrest remained unclear.

Meanwhile, a man was also arrested in Rishon Lezion over suspicion of attacking an 80-year old demonstrator.

The clashes

Even though the cops have tried to keep their clashes with the protestors to a minimum, they have been under pressure.

Itamar Ben Gvir, the National Security Minister, has insisted that the police use force for stopping the rallies and clearing the roads.

Hundreds of thousands of people were expected to continue gathering during the day as well as into the night on highways, prominent cities as well as outside the homes of members of the coalition.

Protestors were also planning on disrupting traffic on roads leading to Ben Gurion Airport in order to disrupt the flight plan of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

He was scheduled to fly to London on Thursday. A number of locations saw protestors hold rallies in the morning as well as early afternoon.

These included university campuses, highway interchanges as well as major intersections, amongst others.

In Tel Aviv, there was also a rally outside the Defense Ministry by bereaved military families. Gavriella Zimmerman lost her son back in 2004 and said that her son had not died for a ruined country.

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