Across the country, Israel’s police have been increasingly using stun grenades as a systemic means to disperse peaceful protests. From Haifa in northern Israel to Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem, stun grenades have seriously injured peaceful protesters. What’s more, whether intended by authorities or not, they have become a reason that many persons decide to distance themselves from demonstrations.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) has begun a campaign to put an end to the flagrant, unjustified and disproportionate use of stun grenades by Israel police, a phenomenon which the organization sees as an ongoing violation of human rights. The NGO has begun collecting testimonies that paint a worrying picture of the massive and unrestrained use of stun grenades, “entailing a systemic and ongoing violation of the procedures regulating the manner in which stun grenades are to be used.”
From the testimonies the ACRI has gathered it becomes clear that the “trigger-happy” approach of police in their use of stun grenades has led in recent weeks to the injuring of numerous individuals who were participating in demonstrations, as well as of individuals who were not even near people disturbing the peace. The testimonies also affirm that many citizens interested in joining various protests around the country are refraining from attending, in part due to the massive use of stun grenades
According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) “Stun grenades pose physical and psychological harm to peaceful protesters — but these dangerous crowd dispersal methods have also created a serious chilling effect on the freedom of expression and the right to protest.”