Thousands of Israeli protesters block streets in Tel Aviv, clash with police (HAŽARETZ NEWS) By Gili Cohen , Yaniv Kubovich and Asaf Shtull-Trauring 06/24/12)
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Police arrested 89 demonstrators after more than 6,500 people
converged in and around Tel Aviv´s Habima Square on Saturday night,
protesting the arrest on Friday of Daphni Leef, a leader of last
summer´s social protest movement.
The protesters blocked Ibn Gabirol Street north to Rabin Square,
before moving and blocking Ayalon highway. Around 20 demonstrators
were removed by police after breaking into branches of Hapoalim,
Leumi and Discount banks. .
A large police contingent was stationed in the city center starting
Friday afternoon. The police had expected Saturday´s demonstration,
which they say is illegal and unlicensed. Other banks were targeted;
a window at Bank Hapoalim at Gan Ha´ir was shattered.
Under the slogan "Emergency protest! Returning power to the people,"
demonstrators confronted the police, some of them from the elite
Special Forces unit.
Activists said one of their number, Moshe Menkin, was arrested by an
undercover police officer when he entered an abandoned building on
Rothschild Boulevard that the police were using as a staging area.
Another demonstrator, Barak Cohen, said he was injured when a police
officer kneed him.
"We came to create a confrontation, not to stand across from them,"
Cohen said. "You´re fighting for your life and you have to fight
them, without fear. They can carry out arrests and close off streets,
but they can´t affect the choices we make in our souls."
According to Sunny Arazi, another demonstrator, "Yesterday the police
did everything to stop the protest, and it worked. The south is on
fire, and if this demonstration succeeds, the firing in the south
will continue. They´ll do everything possible to disrupt the protest."
Earlier yesterday evening, several hundred people gathered on
Rothschild Boulevard near the Barnoar club for gay teens, where two
people died in a shooting attack three years ago. A number of MKs met
with the demonstrators, who included Ayala Katz, whose son Nir was
killed in the attack.
On Friday, Leef and a dozen other protesters were arrested after
several hundred activists tried to put up tents along Rothschild, the
main site of last summer´s social protest. Leef was dragged into a
waiting police car, prompting hundreds of demonstrators to block the
road with their bodies in an attempt to prevent the car from driving
The protesters knocked over trash cans and shouted chants criticizing
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Still, the car managed to leave the scene.
The police said Friday´s protest was illegal, and that the
demonstrators refused the requests of municipal inspectors to halt
it. Protesters attacked the inspectors and the police at the site,
the police said. Protesters cursed, spat and threw things at the
officers, the police said. (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 06/24/12)
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