Court gives temporary reprieve for Rothschild tent city

Protesters say they cleaned up encampment following residents’ complaints, Vardi should have visited, taken that into account.

By
September 21, 2011 05:15
2 minute read.
tent city dismantling

municipal workers dismantle tent city_311. (photo credit: Ben Hartman)

The Supreme Court issued an injunction on Tuesday evening preventing the Tel Aviv Municipality from evacuating the Rothschild Boulevard protest encampment on Wednesday.

Members of the Rothschild tent city filed a petition to the Supreme Court on Tuesday, after the Tel Aviv District Court turned down a petition on Sunday against the evacuation of the encampment.

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The two-month-old tent city has become a health hazard, and descended into anarchy, said District Court Judge Dr. Kobi Vardi in Sunday’s ruling.

Although the protest encampment was originally established to demonstrate against housing issues, attorney Michael Sfard, representing the petitioners, said that the District Court and now the Supreme Court petitions center on citizens’ rights to protest and on freedom of expression.

The municipality said a balance should be struck between the right to freedom of expression and the public’s right to enjoy public space.

They were supported by a group of 48 Rothschild Boulevard residents who added themselves as a party to the District Court petition, arguing that the continued presence of the tents infringed their rights by preventing them from accessing public space.

The Rothschild residents also said the encampment has started to pose a serious health hazard as protesters left the tents and other populations moved in.

However, protesters say that they have cleaned up the encampment following residents’ complaints and that Vardi should have taken that into account when making his ruling.

Sfard, who filed the Supreme Court petition on behalf of the protesters, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that the District Court judge had not visited Rothschild Boulevard to examine the reality of the situation on the ground.

The Supreme Court will hold a hearing on the protesters’ petition on Thursday, Sfard said.

In parallel, tent protest spokesman Roee Neuman told the Post on Tuesday evening that the protesters have been conducting negotiations with the Tel Aviv Municipality throughout the day.

That dialogue is set to continue on Wednesday, Neuman added.

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