|Police drop 5 of 14 indictments against Tel Aviv social justice protesters|
|Friday, 14 December 2012 19:23|
Six months have passed since the massive protest rally in Tel Aviv, in which bank windows were smashed and police are dropping five of the 14 indictments against demonstrators arrested during a social protest in Tel Aviv on June 23, but plan to pursue legal proceedings against the other nine accused, the Israel Police told the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court. During the June 23 demonstration, 90 people were arrested but only 14 indictments, for public disturbances and rioting in a public place, were filed with the court. Some of the protestors were also accused of assaulting police officers and resisting arrest.
A union organizer, Alon-Lee Green, one of the protest's leaders and a Hadash well-know activist whose file was dismissed told journalists: "We firmly insist that we are not the ones who should be accused here but rather the neo-liberal government ministers responsible, for instance, for the public health crisis." "We were arrested because we demanded social justice nothing more, and we will continue to be here until all of the accused are acquitted," said Green.
Alon Lee-Green (wearing a red shirt) in court with several social justice activists, Tel-Aviv, June 24, 2012 (Photo: Activestills)
Charges will be dropped against those accused solely of participating in an illegal gathering and improper conduct in a public place. The police agreed to lessen, but not drop, some of the other indictments, which included allegations of assaulting a police officer, undermining a police office and resisting arrest. During the previous hearing a month and a half ago, Judge Limor Margolin-Yehidi suggested that the police had inflated the charges and called on both sides to reach a compromise out of court.
Each of the charge sheets contained a section describing the events of that evening, including the shattering of bank windows at Gan Ha'ir - even when the actions described were not being attributed to the accused. During the last hearing, Margolin-Yehidi questioned the need for this introductory section, but the police representative, attorney Benny Doron, insisted on keeping it. Doron explained that the actions of those whose indictments are not being dropped were more significant than the others' actions.
After the hearing, attorney Avigdor Feldman, who is representing many of the suspects, criticized the police's partial retreat. "It's too little and too late," he told Haaretz. "The police are insisting on conducting complicated trials for throwing a bottle of water and passive participation in a demonstration. "Naturally we will try to show that the behavior of the police was far more serious and violent than the behavior of the demonstrators," Feldman said. "We will also try to prove that there had been a decision made in advance to zero in on a few protesters and arrest them violently. We will submit requests to get all the material relating to the police preparations before and during the demonstration, and to the orders given to the policemen." Police at the time arrested some 90 people, though most were immediately released. Demonstrators accused the police of using excessive violence to disperse the demonstration.
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|Last Updated on Friday, 14 December 2012 19:33|