Why were undercover cops wearing Lapid T-shirts?

TA police say decision to wear Yesh Atid Party shirts at Saturday social justice rally was officers’ personal choice.

August 6, 2012 03:11
1 minute read.
Yair Lapid at first Yesh Atid conference

Yair Lapid 370. (photo credit: Ricardo Mallaco)

Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid Party slammed Tel Aviv Police on Sunday morning after undercover officers were filmed patrolling a social justice protest on Saturday night wearing the party’s T-shirts.

Spokeswoman Nili Reichman said the party would file a complaint with the Justice Ministry’s Police Investigation Department as well as with Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich’s office.

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A spokeswoman for the Tel Aviv Police said the two officers who wore Yesh Atid shirts did so of their own, and not following any police plan to send in undercover officers posing as Lapid supporters.

In videos posted online, two officers can be seen wearing T-shirts emblazoned with Yesh Atid’s “Efo Hacesef?” (“Where’s the money?”) slogan as they film protesters blocking the junction at the end of Kaplan street across from the Defense Ministry headquarters.

The protest at Kaplan began with a march from the Habimah Theater and was held as an alternative to a social justice demonstration held at the Tel Aviv Museum that was attended by a large number of Lapid supporters.

The Tel Aviv Museum protest included speakers who tied the issue of social justice to universal military or civilian service, an issue that Yesh Atid has put at the top of its agenda, and that many of the protesters at Kaplan said they do not believe should be linked to the social justice cause.

Though the second protest at the end of Kaplan Street was a non-partisan action, most of those attending would not be accurately described as Lapid supporters, making the T-shirts a futile disguise.

Around 11 p.m., one of the policemen wearing a Yesh Atid shirt was surrounded by protesters who shouted “undercover!” at him. At one point someone threw water on the officer, who began to run. Though it is unclear what happened next, police say that a demonstrator pepper-sprayed the officer, though demonstrators said the officer pulled out his pepper-spray to fend off the crowd and sprayed himself by accident. Either way, the pepper spray wafted across a wide swath of the crowd, leaving dozens coughing.

Police arrest eight people for disturbing the peace during the demonstration.

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