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43 arrested in Tel Aviv rally, banned from protest site

Arrested Protesters appear in Tel Aviv's HaShalom Court 24 July 2011. Photo by Oren Ziv/activestill.org

Arrested Protesters appear in Tel Aviv's HaShalom Court 24 July 2011. Photo by Oren Ziv/activestill.org

Mairav Zonszein contributed to this report

Out of 43 activists arrested late Saturday night with the charge of “illegal gathering,” 32 signed agreed to conditions for their release which include banishment from the tent protest location on Rothschild Boulevard for 30 days and a prohibition from taking part in protests for that period. The remaining 11, all reportedly associated with Anarchists Against the Wall, have been banned from the area for 7 days, 1 being charged with assault and one being charged with throwing a smoke grenade at a police officer

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the muggy streets of Tel Aviv last night in order to demonstrate against housing costs in the country. The protest set out from the tent city which has been created in front of Habima national theatre in the centre of Tel Aviv and moved toward Ibn Gvirol street, a major artery in the centre of the city.

According to the eyewitness reporting of my colleagues Dahlia Scheindlin and Dimi Reider, the protest was at once jovial and tense as police fluctuated between using force and patience with the protesters.  As the night wore on, the police began arresting protesters and the crowd began to engage in civil disobedience like blocking the streets non-violently. Absent from the protest were discussion of the recently passed anti-boycott law, the occupation or Israel’s treatment of Palestinians.

According to Reider, many of the demonstrators clearly never attended a demonstration before and it was most likely the first time that they had ever blocked a road for political reasons. By 3:00am, the protest was over and 43 people had been arrested.

Protesters confront police following rally over housing prices July 23-24, 2011 (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills)

According to reports from activestills.org photographer Oren Ziv, who was at the protest and is now at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s court, arrested protesters were separated into small groups, questioned and then 32 of them were released early morning on Sunday after signing extreme restrictions that include banishment from a large area surrounding Rothschild Boulevard (site of the tent protest) for 30 days, prohibition from attending future tent protests for 30 days and no contact with protest organizers (ridiculous as among those were protest organizers themselves).  However, 11 protesters, all active in the Palestinian solidarity group Anarchists Against the Wall, were held overnight and were released this afternoon (14:00 Sunday) after signing conditions that they too are banned from central Tel Aviv and from attending the tent protests, but for 7 days.

Map provided by police of area in central Tel Aviv that activists are barred from entering (Courtesy of Yaar Peretz)

The police and court’s behavior is evident of inconsistent behavior and malpractice. Why did certain activists get released earlier and with different restrictions than others? We know it is not due to their blocking the roads as some of those held overnight were not arrested at the street junction where the road was being blocked but rather in another location, on Dizengoff St. Since those 11 held overnight all have police records from being arrested in the Occupied Territories, it is fair to assume the police gave them “special treatment” and allowed the 32 others to be released earlier.

However, according to the law, police may only use a ban of up to 15 days as conditions for release, such that the 30-day condition is unheard of and indeed the police likely took advantage of those activists’ inexperience with arrests. Furthermore banishment from the area is ridiculous as some of the activists live inside or nearby the area, and merely walking to the local grocery store will mean violating the warrant.

According to Oren Ziv, those 32 activists will appeal the 30-day ban, citing the fact that the tents are where they are currently living, and they cannot be banned from their place of residence.

Ziv also reported that 10 riot police were summoned to the court (14:10) since activists gathered there to show support for those arrested.

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    1. jerry gates

      Writing primarily as a rep for Palestinian causes, this comment finds me as a fish out of water, so to speak, but respective of my experience not gasping for air as much as groping for sympathetic impulses upon which to found my compassionate comment….

      I do feel the pain of Israelis whose compensation doesnt meet their needs of subsistence and understand how frustrating it must be to see others enjoying more luxurious trappings than oneself due to high costs of living in Israel.

      Just the same it should be glaringly apparent that Palestinians face this same dilimna in their lives, evicted from homes they did own and from farms they loved, the keys to their old door locks still in some cases fixed around the necks of grandchildren after all of these years They could console the Tent dwellers of Rothschild street with an old but perhaps still appropriate adage for the ages, better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, at least the Palestinians have their history to fall back upon in reflection of better times when they lived where they always had and werent shuffled off to other places where even there, they felt inhibited, ostracized and forlorn because they were denied their basic human rights and rejected as citizens of the new Jews only country Israel.

      Israeli society would be well advised to encourage more equality between classes, Palestine has had to do so out of necessity and it has wrought good fortune to the people, their new voices are for their better interests as citizens irrespective of perhaps tainted and errant leadership’s designs for their nation as a economic empowerment zone of collaberators of and maintainance of the strictures of occupation under some smallish collection of bantustans they call palestine irrespective of refugges unarmed and defenslessly dependent on charity for survival what nation is this, at least the Jews in Israel can camp out without having Palestinians bother them, which they wouldnt, because they feel the very same sting on another level of humanity where humanity trumps ethnicity and all brothers and sisters are equal forever together for worse or for better, we love each other and want to be happy, just like the tent dwellers of Rothschild street, the women of Hamas want their rights to better housing and decry the increased costs of survival in the zionist jungle.

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