Police Detain 21 Anti-gov’t Protesters in Tel Aviv

Thousands protested on Saturday night, February 24, across Israel against far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, demanding early elections, a deal to release the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza and against the war. At least 21 people were arrested at a protest on Kaplan Street in Tel-Aviv. Protesters saying police acted with excessive force, including an incident in which a mounted police officer whipped a protester on the head.

The police against protesters on Kaplan Street, February 24, 2024 (Photo: Benny Meshy / Black Flag Protest Movement)

Three rallies were held at Kaplan Street: against government, for the release the hostages held by the Hamas, for early elections, the dismissal of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and by the Anti-Occupation Block against the war in Gaza and for a diplomatic solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In Caesarea, hundreds of protesters blocked the main road near Netanyahu’s private residence, fought with police and one protester was detained.

Smaller protest rallies in which several thousand participated were also held nationwide on Saturday evening, including in Jerusalem, Haifa, Nes Tziona, Kfar Saba, Ra’anana, Rehovot, Beer Sheva, Rosh Pina and Kafr Yasif. Saturday afternoon, members of the “Brothers in Arms” organization protested on bridges throughout Israel.

Hofshi Be’artzenu, a movement calling for elections, condemned cops’ violence on Saturday saying “In the spirit of the minister of the government of destruction, the police used water cannons and mounted police in a direct formation against citizens who were standing on sidewalks and did not resort to any violence.” “The voice of the citizens of Israel who are demanding to replace the failed leadership in the country’s history will not be silenced, it will only grow stronger,” added the group.

In addition to the Saturday night protests, demonstrators have been gathering at the homes of ministers and lawmakers on Thursday evenings for protests calling for the end of the current government, led by groups that spearheaded protests against the far-right coalition’s judicial overhaul last year. Relatives of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza blocked Tel Aviv’s Ayalon Highway on Friday, February 23, with a Shabbat dinner table, light smoke bombs and fires while calling for the release of their loved ones. At the same time in Jerusalem, dozens of Israeli peace activists gathered at Paris Square to express “pain and rage at the murdering of thousands of people in Gaza.” Another protest against the war in Gaza was held Friday morning in Jaffa by a group of women activists.

Related: https://maki.org.il/en/?p=31610