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Violent protest outside TA City Hall after tents removed
By
September 8, 2011 01:35
Over 30 arrested after demonstrators try to break into municipality, throw eggs at building, following early morning cleanup of tent cities.
A protester is subdued by police outside City Hall

protest city hall tel aviv 311. (photo credit:Ben Hartman)

At least 30 protesters were arrested, and a handful needed medical treatment, during a demonstration outside the Tel Aviv Municipality on Wednesday afternoon that quickly got out of control.

People arrived at 4 p.m. to protest against the municipality’s decision to begin clearing out Tel Aviv’s tent cities on Wednesday morning – a day after telling protesters that the sites would be closed down by the High Holy Days.



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Chanting “[Tel Aviv Mayor Ron] Huldai go home!” and “Huldai, who needs you?” among other slogans, they then crowded At least 30 protesters were arrested, and a handful needed medical treatment, during a demonstration outside the Tel Aviv Municipality on Wednesday afternoon that quickly got out of control.

People arrived at 4 p.m. to protest against the municipality’s decision to begin clearing out Tel Aviv’s tent cities on Wednesday morning – a day after telling protesters that the sites would be closed down by the High Holy Days.

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Minutes later, a protester arrived with a few dozen eggs, and a volley was sent flying at city hall, crashing against the front windows and leaving long streaks of yolk toward the pavement.

People charged the front doors, demanding to be let in, at which point police made the first arrests.

Thus began a sequence wherein every so often the crowd would surge against the building, or police would surge against the crowd, and a protester or two would be carted off into the municipal building.

Around that same time, the crowd began to block the intersection of Ibn Gvirol Street and Ben-Gurion Boulevard, the first of several attempts.

Protesters were angry not only because of the evictions, but also because, in their words, tents were taken by the city clean-up crews while residents’ belongings were still inside. Some said the belongings were quite valuable and that they had no chance of retrieving them from city hall.

Nordau tent-city resident Ziv Keinan said he was protesting because “they took my tent and my personal belongings. They also took my girlfriend Shir’s art supplies that were worth thousands of shekels. They told me it’s all trash and I can’t get it back.”

Wearing a mask bearing the likeness of Huldai, Shiri Tenbrink said she was protesting because “the city hall came like thieves in the night and stole peoples’ belongings and their tents. They feel that the protests are over and they say the only people left are drug addicts and the homeless.

But this isn’t true – just like at the beginning when they said it was all sushi-eaters and hookah-smokers – it was a lie.”

Shortly after Tenbrink spoke, the crowd that had now mostly shifted to the back door of city hall ran toward a white sedan that raced out of the parking lot, with demonstrators yelling that it was Huldai’s car. The protesters tried to reach the car and barricade it, but the driver ran a red light and escaped.

Two mounted police officers arrived and began making their way through the crowd, which started to disperse, and eventually left, only to return in force a little over an hour later. By 7:30 p.m., the protest was back in full-swing and the arrests resumed. Whatever patience police seemed to have shown earlier appeared to fade.

Protesters remained at city hall into the night, ahead of a planned demonstration outside Huldai’s home in north Tel Aviv.

For those gathered outside the building, the protests appeared to herald a phase of protests against municipal anti-tent city policies – rather than just for the greater social justice issues driving the protests up to that point.

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.

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