Just as the students in the tent city in downtown Jerusalem’s Gan HaSus were packing up their seven-week old tent city, nearly 100 tent protesters demanding public housing broke into an abandoned student dormitory in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood and refused to move despite an eviction order. The 32 families, who came from various tent cities around the capital and Mevasseret Zion, have until Tuesday morning at 6 AM to evacuate the building.
The protesters said they will not leave until they are given housing solutions, and threatened that if the police tried to evacuate them they would use violence and possibly explosives in order to stay in the building. “People aren’t going to leave here like lambs to the slaughter,” said one inhabitant named Beny, a Jerusalem resident and former Black Panther. “You can’t evict these families, it’s winter soon and these people have nowhere to go,” he said. There are five babies and five pregnant women currently living in the building.
“We’ll prevent any attempt to disturb the peace, but we haven’t gotten to that point yet,” said Jerusalem police deputy spokeswoman Shlomit Bajshi.
The dormitories were scouted out by the protesters over a week ago, broken into, and given minor renovations, explained Yoni Ran Cohen, who was evicted from his apartment in Mevasseret after falling behind on the rent and started the local tent city six weeks ago. On Thursday night, a mass of activists gathered to break into together, and on Saturday night even more people moved in.