Settler to court: Allow protests outside Shas MKs' homes

Psagot resident petitions High Court after police refuse to let him demonstrate outside Yishai, Attias houses.

November 18, 2010 02:03
2 minute read.
Shas MK Ariel Attias

311_ariel attias. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Ro’i David Reeder, a settler from Psagot, petitioned the High Court of Justice on Wednesday, after the police rejected his request to hold protest vigils outside the homes of Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Construction and Housing Minister Ariel Attias.

Yishai and Attias reportedly intend to abstain if the security cabinet votes on whether to impose another building moratorium on settlements in the West Bank.

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Reeder’s lawyer, Itzhak Bam, said the police refusal was based on a guideline issued by then attorney-general Elyakim Rubinstein in 2003 on the question of the right to hold quiet protest vigils in front of the homes of public figures.

The guideline allows the police to reject a request for a permit to hold such a vigil in front of the public figure’s home “as opposed to in front of his office.

“If a permit is necessary, and the protest involves a public figure’s private home that he does not normally use for his public responsibilities, holding a protest may be forbidden if there is an effective alternative to which the protesters can be directed,” according to the guideline.

Another paragraph states that “In order [for the police] to refuse a permit, there must be information or circumstances pointing to real danger of rioting or injury, such as information that the organizers of the demonstration plan to disturb the peace.”

Bam said the High Court has ruled several times that the right to freedom of expression is equal to the right of public figures to their privacy.

But the implication of the attorney-general’s guideline was that “all quiet protest vigils in front of the house of a ‘public figure,’ which can be held in front of his office, will be forbidden, whether or not the protest requires a permit.”

In general, a protest involving fewer than 50 people does not require a police permit. In many cases, even demonstrations of more than 50 people do not require one. But when it comes to demonstrating in front of the homes of public figures, a permit is required no matter how many people are involved.

Bam wrote that Reeder and other protesters, who were in the midst of building their own homes, wanted to protest precisely in front of the homes of those who were preventing them from continuing to build them, to emphasize the gap in circumstances between the two sides.

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