For the first time: indictments against participants in the Balfour protests

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For the first time since the demonstrations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu began – two indictments were filed today (Tuesday) against demonstrators, for a prohibited gathering, interference with a police officer in the performance of his duties and one of them also for assaulting a police officer. One of the accused is Gonen Ben Yitzhak, one of the organizers of the protests and the leaders of the Kiryat Minster movement. The black flag movement responded to the indictments and called the Israel Police: “Netanyahu Police.”

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According to the indictment filed by the Jerusalem Prosecutor’s Office against Gonen Ben Yitzhak, on July 18, a demonstration took place near Paris Square in Jerusalem, in which many demonstrators participated. Around midnight, police forces began evacuating the protesters from the scene by a police announcement clarifying that the demonstration was illegal, and the protesters had to leave the scene.

Many demonstrators, including Ben Yitzhak, did not respond to police calls and continued to demonstrate illegally and make noise using whistles, drums and shouting. At 00:05, the police chief ordered Sergeant Yaakovi to place the spraying machine (the olive grove) at the intersection where the demonstrators stood to “allow the use as needed.”

Following the IDF order, Ben Yitzhak called on other demonstrators to run towards the olive grove and he himself stood in front of it and blocked its path. Ben Yitzhak even lay down under the olive grove and wrapped his hands around part of the groove of the olive grove, with the intention of preventing its continued progress and thwarting its use. Despite the repeated demands of the police, he refused to release his grip and move. In view of the situation, the police had to use force to evacuate him.

The second indictment was filed by the Jerusalem prosecutor’s office against the demonstrator Bar Binyamin, for assaulting a police officer in aggravated circumstances and a prohibited gathering. According to the indictment, on September 20, 20, a demonstration took place near the Prime Minister’s residence on Balfour Street. The demonstration was attended by many demonstrators who, among other things, also stood on the roads near the place.

Clashes with police in Balfour. archives | Photo: Tomer Neuberg Flash 90

Near midnight, the police announced to the participants in the demonstration that from now on the demonstration is illegal, and that they must clear the roads, in order to resume traffic. Around 00:40, the police began evacuating the protesters who did not obey the instructions, and remained standing or sitting on the roads. Among the protesters was Benjamin – who was standing at the time with other demonstrators on the road near Paris Square.

One of the policemen at the scene approached Benjamin and asked her to clear the road, but according to the indictment she refused. The policeman told her that if she did not do it of her own free will, he would be forced to evacuate her by force. Benjamin insisted on her refusal, and as a result the policeman began to evacuate her from the road.

According to the indictment, the policeman put his hand on Benjamin’s back to evacuate her, and she, in response, turned to him, sprayed pepper spray on his face and tried to flee the scene.

Demonstration of the black flags in Zion Square (Photo: Yonatan Sindel, Flash 90)
Demonstrations against the Prime Minister. archives | Photo: Jonathan Cindel, Flash 90

The State Attorney’s Office stated that “the decision to file the indictments was made in accordance with the State Attorney’s Office’s policy to address offenses committed during demonstrations, as reflected in the Deputy State Attorney’s Assistant (Special Functions). Freely, and between the public interest in maintaining public safety and property, the rule of law and public order. “

The black flag was used in response to the indictment against Ben Yitzhak, who also serves as the movement’s lawyer: “A black flag hovers over the actions of the Netanyahu police. “Benjamin Netanyahu. Gantz, Ashkenazi and Nissenkorn should be ashamed of cooperating with this political persecution.”



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