I only got to the last part of the Tel Aviv demo against the anti-democratic legislation led by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government. Most of the several thousand protesters were on their way home; a couple of hundreds had gathered on Rothschild Boulevard, and another 200 were demonstrating in the nearby King George Street, just under the Likud party headquarters, before proceeding to block the street for a few hours.
Earlier, I read a few Twitter messages about tear gas being used by the police. This sounded strange – Israeli security forces never use it in Jewish neighborhoods. On King George, the mystery was solved – it was pepper spray, the current world-wide celebrity of the crowd control department. An activist I knew was still red-eyed when I met him – he said the police had lost control for a minute, and sprayed the protesters for no reason at all.
You can see it happen clearly in the video (min 0:18), take by Eran Vered. Later, you can also spot the district police commander (min 1:46, not in uniform but in blue clothes) kicking protesters that are on sitting on the road:
Here is another video of the pepper spray:
Update: the first video was removed, you can see the kicking cop here.
For background and related posts on +972:
Israel, South Africa deepen connection with attacks on press
Columnist tears into “criminal” gov’t before new law makes it illegal
Netanyahu’s assault goat and Israel’s human rights NGOs
Police shut down Jewish-Palestinian radio station
Threats to Israeli democracy, tolerance gather momentum