Following a Melave Malka (post-Shabbat meal) near David’s Tomb, a large group of police arrived to disperse the crowd, so the area would be clear for the Pope’s upcoming visit to the building, according to a HaKol HaYehudi report.
An estimated 200 people were outside the building when police arrived, leading to riots in response to the attempt to disperse them.
Witnesses told HaKol HaYehudi that the police were particularly violent. Talkbackists on the site are claiming that 2000 people were outside the building at the time. Police claim rioters threw stones and bottles at them.
Dozens of youths forced their way into the building, with 15 people blockading and chaining themselves together near the cenotaph inside the building.
The youths are protesting both the Pope’s visit to the site, which Jews consider holy, and the reports that Israel is transferring ownership of the building to the Vatican.
Police forced their way into the building, arresting 26 people. Police claim a police car was damaged and some policemen were lightly injured when they tried to disperse the crowd. 5 protesters were lightly injured.
Last week, police arrested 2 people with anti-Pope posters, and place restraining orders on others they thought would disrupt the Pope’s visit.
Itamar Ben-Gvir who is representing some of the arrested said the police acted with brutal violence.
On Friday, a court decided that protesters may protest the Pope’s visit, but no closer than 150 meters from the Pope. Ben-Gvir says it appears that the police are trying to squelch all protests completely.
Activist Barush Marzel said, “We won’t be silences by the Pope’s visit to Israel. He is an unwanted guest who represents those who murdered, burned, and slaughtered millions of Jews. The police are trying to silence the protests, but it won’t help.”