Police use stun grenades to disperse Umm el-Fahm protest

Security forces responding to Arabs throwing rocks, burning tires; right-wing demonstration set to mark anniversary of Kahane murder in Arab town; units on patrol to avoid repeats of last year's clashes.

By JPOST.COM STAFF,
October 27, 2010 10:54
2 minute read.
Illustrative photo

umm el-fahm march 298 ap. (photo credit: Jerusalem Post archives)

Police used stun grenades to disperse a crowd of Umm el-Fahm residents throwing rocks and burning tires in the northern town, as right-wing activists were set to march on Wednesday to mark the anniversary of Rabbi Meir Kahane’s assassination.

Umm al Fahm residents, as well as haredi Neturei Karta activists carrying signs with the message "Arabs Yes, Zionists No," gathered in the area, as the march neared the city.

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Police released stun grenades and tear gas into the street in order to scatter Arab residents demonstrating in the area where the right-wing activists are supposed to march.

Shortly after, Arab teens gathered again to throw rocks at the forces meant to keep them apart from the march, but police continued to use crowd-dispersing methods from a distance.

National Union MK and Kahane disciple Michael Ben Ari announced on the way to the march that there are terrorists in Umm al Fahm.

"I warned, and no one listened to me!" Ben Ari said. "I turn to the prime minister and say: There is no reason that the Islamic Movement should be allowed to exist in Israel. In Egypt, it's illegal. In Jordan, they're not allowed to have any influence."

Ben Ari continued: "There is no reason we should be a stupid democracy and let people who want to destroy us have a voice."

After nearly half an hour of rock-throwing and tire-burning, police ran and rode horses into the streets of Umm al Fahm, continuing to shoot stun grenades and tear gas, and dragged away the offenders, as the right-wing activists approached the town.

Police arrested several suspects, and reported no injuries. MK Hanin Zoabi said she was injured by tear gas, and accused the police of using extensive force, Israel Radio reported.

"There is a large police presence in and around for this morning's gathering by right-wing activisits," Israel Police spokesman Chief Inspector Micky Rosenfeld told The Jerusalem Post earlier Wednesday. "We are hoping things will be quiet and without any disturbances."

"Different units from different districts are on stand-by in the area, and we are fully prepared to deal with it, if things erupt," Rosenfeld explained.

The march was organized by far-right activist Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir, in order to commemorate the murder of Kahane, shot dead by an Egyptian-American terrorist in New York in 1990. Police are opposed to the event due to security concerns, and initially turned down a request to hold the protest, but were forced to authorize it following a High Court ruling in favor of the right-wing activists earlier this year.

Last year, a similar event was held in March by several dozen activists on the outskirts of Umm el-Fahm, in which disturbances broke out after local youths clashed with riot police.

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.


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