The police agree to allow a Hadash demonstration calling for a ceasefire in Gaza to take place in Tel Aviv this Saturday afternoon, after the Association for Civil Rights (ACRI) in Israel petitioned the High Court of Justice demanding it order the police to issue a permit for the rally.
The Tel Aviv Police Department initially refused to authorize the event, organized by Hadash, on the grounds it could lead “to civil disturbances, may harm the feelings of evacuees from southern Israel currently residing in Tel Aviv, and that the police lacked the manpower to secure the rally.” During the court hearing Thursday, the police agree to allow the demonstration to go ahead, but at a different location than originally planned and with a limit on the number of participants. The protest will take place in Charles Clore Park at 4:00 p.m. with a limit of 700 protesters.
“Ceasefire now!” Hadash activists during the protest calling for the release of Israelis held in Gaza outside the Defense Ministry Headquarters in Tel Aviv, November 11, 2023 (Photo: Zo Haderech)
ACRI argued in its petition that the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of protest must be upheld even in a time of emergency and war, and that concerns about disturbances to public order and causing offense cannot be a reason to stymie freedom of protest. The civil rights organization also argued that the refusal to grant a license for the protest was part of a “systematic and consistent” pattern of behavior by the police during the current war not to permit demonstrations that deviate from the broad consensus of public opinion.
The organizers of the demonstration announced that their message would be a call for a cease-fire, a prisoner exchange agreement and a just peace. In the petition, it is claimed that the police are acting in the last oath to suppress protest vigils of those who wish to speak out against the gagging and restriction of freedom of expression or of those who wish to call for a ceasefire. This, it was claimed, when the police allowed a controversial demonstration of settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories held in Tel Aviv calling for the occupation of the Gaza Strip, the deportation of its residents and the establishment of settlements in their lands.
Last week, the High Court rejected Hadash petitions against the police’s decision to ban demonstrations in the Arab cities of Sakhnin and Umm El Fahm. The ruling states that “despite the high status of the right to demonstration and assembly, the complex reality in which we find ourselves has the potential to influence the manner in which the balances are drawn up in this matter.”