Several far-right hooligans violently attacked protesters late Tuesday, July 28, as they demonstrated outside the Tel Aviv home of Public Security Minister Amir Ohana who had been exposed pressuring police brass to step up repression of demonstrators against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. At the same time, hundreds of protestors continued the campaign outside Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem, calling on the longtime leader to step down. Protests opposite the PM’s residence have been going on for more than a month.
The thugs who attacked the demonstrators outside Ohana’s home were seen hitting the latter with glass bottles and chairs and spraying them with mace. Organizers of the protest said five people were hospitalized, including two with stab wounds in their backs. The Israeli press reported that the attackers are members of the racist “La Familia” organization, violent and avid fans of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer club. “La Familia” has been associated with far-right and racist elements and was blamed for a similar attack against protesters in Jerusalem last week
More than a thousand protesters had gathered on Tuesday evening outside Ohana’s home and stood behind a barricade blowing vuvuzelas and chanting slogans against the Public Security Minister, the government as a whole, and the police, shouting: “Police, who do you protect?”; “Shame”; “Who will protect us from the police?”; “Capital and Power = Mafia” and other slogans directed at the far-right government and the cops. The protest was organized by the Black Flag movement, whose members chose Tel Aviv as the location for the protest. From Ohana’s home the demonstrators moved to block the Ayalon Highway, forcing police to redirect traffic.
Protesters have turned their attention to Ohana after leaked recordings where made public on Sunday, in which the Public Security Minister was clearly heard applying intense pressure on the heads of the police to crack down on demonstrations in Jerusalem outside Netanyahu’s official residence and increase its repression of them. Kan Public Television broadcast the recordings from closed meetings attended by Jerusalem Police Chief Doron Yadid, other top police officials and Ohana, whose ministry oversees the police force. “We cannot continue with this mess,” Ohana can be heard saying, referring to the protests. “We cannot continue with this anarchy. There is a difference between a protest and the events we have witnessed over the last few weeks.”
Protests have been held almost every evening over recent weeks near the Prime Minister’s Residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem. The protests have drawn tens of thousands of Israelis angry at government corruption, the handling of the coronavirus crisis, and attacks over civil rights. Tonight and tomorrow (Friday) afternoon additional mass rallies will be held near the PM’s official residence in Jerusalem. Other large protests are also scheduled to be held this coming Saturday in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and at more than 200 overpasses and intersections across Israel.
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