Israeli police forcefully dispersed American Jewish anti-occupation activists, who had gathered in the Old City to protest Jerusalem Day and the March of the Flags.
Israeli police broke the arm of an American Jewish activist and injured several other anti-occupation demonstrators while forcefully dispersing a Jerusalem Day protest in the Old City on Wednesday.
The demonstration, held at Damascus Gate by American and Israeli Jewish activists with IfNotNow, Free Jerusalem and All That’s Left, took place during the March of the Flags, an annual right-wing parade that habitually results in violence against Palestinians from both its participants and the Israeli police units escorting them. The march is heavily funded by the Jerusalem Municipality.
The parade passes through the Old City’s Muslim Quarter, and Palestinian traders along the route are ordered by police to close their shops during the march. IfNotNow organizer Yonah Lieberman told +972 Magazine that Wednesday’s protest was aimed at trying to block the police from clearing out the Muslim Quarter, forcing them to reroute the march.
“[We] decided that it was important to confront the violence of Jerusalem Day head-on,” Lieberman said. “Specifically, [it was] important for us to do all that we could to demonstrate the way that Israeli state violence is used against Palestinians in order to protect right-wing Jewish extremists.”
Around two dozen activists linked arms in front of Damascus Gate, Lieberman explained. He noted that while the group tried to avoid direct confrontation with the march participants, they were “charged at” by right-wing Israelis, before being ordered to move by Israeli police.
Video footage from the protest, shot by Naomi Dann, an activist on the scene, shows police dragging protesters out by their arms and by the neck. Lieberman, who was filmed being carried away in a headlock, can be heard saying, “I can’t breathe” to the police holding onto him.
The activist whose arm was broken, Sarah Brammer-Shlay was evacuated in a Palestinian ambulance — whose operators, in support of the protest, waived the fee for the ride — to the Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem. Numerous other protesters were suffering from bruises and the after-effects of being choked.
Neither the Jerusalem Police nor the Border Police responded immediately to a request for comment. Should a response be received,...Read More