Twelve activists arrested at Negev ‘day of rage’ protest are still in jail after more than a week; police are asking they be detained until the end of legal proceedings; activists fear the heavy handedness is an attempt to smother resistance to Prawer. Solidarity demonstration is held in Tel Aviv.
It has been more than a week since dozens of demonstrators were arrested in clashes between police and anti-Prawer Plan activists in the Negev town of Hura and in Haifa. Protesters detained at demonstrations in Israel are usually released the same day as the arrest or in the worst case scenario, the morning after. In the case of the anti-Prawer arrestees, police are asking the courts to hold 12 of these protestors, including five minors, in custody through the end of legal proceedings (criminal trials can take months if not years to make their way through the courts). In a show of solidarity with the detainees and in an effort to maintain resistance to Prawer, some 400 people marched through and blocked streets in central Tel Aviv Saturday evening.
One of the detainees, a young man from Tel Aviv who works in education and has no previous criminal record, was charged with rioting and shoving a police officer while already in the police station. The Be’er Sheva court has extended his detention several times already, the latest of them on Sunday morning.
“Compared with everything we know about arrests in demonstrations it is simply unbelievable that he is still inside,” the activist’s attorney, Smadar Ben Natan, said. “It’s complete madness that for charges such as these police are asking for detention until the end of proceedings, which might take ages.”
“They’ve pulled out all the possible excuses, saying he might be dangerous to the public, might flee the country or destroy evidence as if he was some sort of criminal,” she continued. “In any other case he would simply walk [free] after two days, tops. The only exception to that rule is when the state wants to put down massive protests, as we last saw during Operation Cast Lead. Then the police start...Read More