Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Police officers detain a man during a protest outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's official residence in Jerusalem, July 21, 2020.

Thousands marched Tuesday night to the Knesset building in Jerusalem and then returned to demonstrate in front of the prime minister’s residence. Originally, the protest was planned to be against the Corona Powers Act that the Knesset will likely pass on Wednesday. The new law effectively neutralizes the Knesset Corona Committee from all its powers after many weeks in which it has thwarted the government’s attempts to shut down sectors of the economy without specific information to justify it.

But very quickly the demonstrations in the two big cities turned from a protest against the government’s political bullying of the Knesset—with the coalition parties’ captive collaboration—into a rally against the Prime Minister with all the familiar anti-Bibi slogans which inevitably culminated in clashes with police.

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In Jerusalem, 34 demonstrators were detained – some on suspicion of disorderly conduct and some on suspicion of assaulting police officers.

And, naturally, the cops were not too shy about using their nightsticks in that dance, either.

Warning: if you are offended by violence or immodest dress please avoid the video below.

The police announced at the beginning of the evening that they do not intend to allow a procession of the demonstrators from the prime minister’s house to the Knesset, as the organizers had promised on social media but without proper approval.

But in the end, the police surrendered and allowed the mostly left-wing demonstrators to hold their procession from the prime minister’s residence to the Knesset. Eventually, Im Tirtzu disseminated a picture of a young woman exposing herself while waving a red flag at the top of the giant Menorah in the garden in front of the Knesset.

“Nothing is sacred anymore in the eyes of anti-Zionist activists. Now they are undressing on top of the Menorah symbol in front of the Knesset of Israel – never again,” Im Tirtzu tweeted in deadly seriousness and added: “From now on we stop being silent.”

This reporter knows Im Tirtzu and likes many of the group’s actions, but being silent is not something they have been practicing. Also, if you ask me, it is better for the left to undress on top of national symbols and not clash with the police, but I’m aware some would disagree.

At the start of the evening, two groups demonstrated in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence – one (several dozen) for the PM and one (several hundred) against him. Eventually the anti-Bibi group expanded exponentially while the pros remained humble.

“We few. We happy few. / We band of brothers, for he today / That sheds his blood with me / Shall be my brother.” (William Shakespeare, Henry V)

When the procession returned from the Knesset to Paris Square, near the Prime Minister’s residence on Balfour Street, clashes broke out between some protesters and the police, and 34 were arrested.

While the police water cannon zamboni sprayed the crowd, the crowd spray-painted graffiti on the water cannon zamboni, recommending that Bibi be hauled to prison. So some measure of balance was maintained.

The police reported being called “Nazis” by some protesters, and not just face-to-face but over noisy megaphones. So noisy, that 61 residents of the affluent Rehavia and Talbiyeh neighborhoods, which surround the prime minister’s residence, have petitioned the High Court to compel the cops to move the protests somewhere else. Perhaps to south Tel Aviv?

Mind you, quite a few High Court justices live in Rehavia and Talbiyeh, so, who knows, this could work…

According to police, the protesters also threw a smoke grenade, in addition to bottles and stones at the officers.

The commander of the Zion district in the Jerusalem police, Lt. Gen. Ofer Shomer, told the News 12 that the police showed patience at all stages of the demonstration, up until the time demonstrators returned to Paris Square.

“There was a good and dignified atmosphere, but it later became clear that during the demonstration young people who took part in it smoked drugs and drank alcohol and apparently this also had an effect on their behavior,” he said.

Protesters interrupted Lt. Gen. Shomer during his appearance in front of the television cameras and called him a “liar.”

On Wednesday morning, several dozen protesters blocked the three entrances to the Knesset in protest of the Corona Powers Act, which will give the government far-reaching emergency powers and which is expected to be passed handily by all the guardians of democracy in the coalition.

Protesters against the Corona Powers Act linked with plastic pipes outside the Knesset, July 22, 2020. / Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

The demonstrators, activists of the Extinction Rebellion movement, sat on the pavement and slipped their hands into plastic pipes to make it difficult for the cops to evacuate them. Activists from the Crime Minister protest also joined the demonstration. Some of the protesters tied themselves in chains to pillars. They chanted “Democracy” and “The dictatorship will not succeed.”

Police arrived after about half an hour and began to forcefully remove the demonstrators.

In summation: demonstrators correct in hating the new Corona Powers Act which neuters the Knesset’s ability to monitor the government; the leftist element that’s pushing violence despite everyone else’s good intentions is working to destroy the genuine, a-political protest movement; also: don’t get undressed on top of a Menorah while waving a red flag – you could fall and break something.

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