The Jerusalem municipality appealed to the courts on Thursday to remove an eight-month delay and allow them to immediately dismantle a large protest tent in Silwan, which they claimed was a "focal point for incitement, violence, disturbing the peace, and hurling rocks." Last June, the court had given the owners of the tent until June 2011 to dismantle the illegal structure.
The tent was erected in February 2008 in the Al Bustan neighborhood and has become a de facto community center and rallying point. Community leaders in Silwan were furious when they heard of the municipality's appeal, accusing them of Teheran-like crackdowns and "looking for a third intifada." The municipality said that they appealed to the courts at the request of the police.
"The city recognizes the right of everyone to protest and express their own opinion, but residents are taking advantage of this structure for disturbances and violence."